Friday, 23 November 2012

When Mum gets off my case...

"You cannot teach a person anything, you can only help him find it within himself."
-- Galileo Galilei

Since I am very new to the idea or implementation of learning-without-someone-else's-structure, I have been very curious as to what Tiger does with himself when I am not actively trying to teach him something that I deem to be "worthwhile".

Here is what I have observed:
1) He plays chess by himself in the day, and works out strategies to beat daddy at the game in the evenings.

2) He writes his own mysteries, and tries to solve them.  He can do with some penmanship lessons though...

3) He draws.

4) He reads and makes models inspired by what he reads, using the materials found around the house.

5) He explores and finds his own answers.
Tiger tested out the Viking boat he built (above) in the bath tub to see whether it would float.  It floated for 2 minutes before it sank to the bottom of the bath tub and became very soggy.  Tiger was slightly upset by that but the "failure" made him question his design, the materials used, and the weight of the various items.  This led him to experiment further with using different materials and designs.  He next spent some time trying to float Lego rafts of different designs while figuring out why certain designs worked better than others.

Finally, he made another model that worked.  This time, it even carried one of his pewter soldiers!

Would Tiger have been so relentless and engaged in finding the solution to this 'problem' if it had been assigned by me or by a curriculum?  I do not know for sure but Oscar Wilde once said, "Education is a worthwhile thing, but it is well to remember that nothing worth knowing can be taught."  I don't necessarily agree with Wilde's slightly extreme take on education,  and I think perhaps he might be referring to things such as having a good attitude and self-determination, which are certainly things that one has to acquire for oneselfHaving said that, a little parental influence would not hurt.

This post is linked up to:
1) Collage Friday
2) Favourite Resources: November 23, 2012
3) TGIF Linky Party #55


  1. It's amazing what our children do when we step out of the way, isn't it? Oh, but this is so very hard for me to do! Your little boy and mine sound a lot a like.... especially with the drawing!

    My son has recently started playing Othello - another great strategy game that I bet your son would like.

    Thanks for linking with Collage Friday!

  2. I keep going back-and-forth with trying to "let go" and see what the kids do. Perhaps it's my PUBLIC SCHOOL teacher education? ::wink:: I would have to set down ground rules though: 1) Read something, 2) Write something, 3) Share something, and 4) Solve something Math each day. (See! I have been thinking! LOL) It would be interesting to see where they take this! Right now, they asked to go outside since it's actually WARM - we're in Maine! - and they're building and testing CATAPULTS. I see milk jugs flying across the yards and cheers! LOL Nothing that I have taught them or suggested to them, just doing it on their own. Physics! And a little history (as we saw catapults in our ancient times studies). But...

    Anyway, he had a great day! It's quite enlightening! :)

  3. Your son is up to amazing things! Thanks for sharing with Favorite Resources :)

  4. This is fabulous! It looks very much like what my daughter does during her free time. But she goes through phases where she just reads a lot or draws and makes things. Love his boats! There's a certain kind of modeling clay you might want to try. It's waterproof and allows for experimentation of different shapes.

    I struggle with how much schooling vs unschooling for our daughter. I like to check things off to feel like I've done something.

  5. Some of the best learning happens when we get out of the way. It's hard though. My aim eventually is to allow my guys the freedom to dictate their own education. They do a lot now, but I'm still very involved. One day though.....


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