In all the things I have read about unschooling there are common threads,although I am beginning to see each family has its own path ,it seems the common threads are relevant to all.
The one that has become clearer to me over the last month or so is that rather than concentrating on cajoling your child to be interested in something because you think it is educational, allow them to do what interests them ,join in and show interest in whatever that is.
You should also pursue your own interest and expand your own knowledge without expecting your child to join in , do it just for you ,set an example of following your passion.
When we started out I bought lots of books with the idea that we would spend happy hours reading about different lands,religions,animals,you name it I was collecting info on it. I panicked I wouldn't have just the right book when she needed to have a question answered, I thought there was a small window of opportunity to get the answer before Milly lost interest.
I had hoped that from these books would come some passion for Tudors, Romans whatever took her fancy.Well we have read some of the books, mainly the story's and for a number of weeks Milly had a passion to live as a Roman slave girl and I know she will have learned from that, from the conversations we had and the questions she asked but it doesn't look like the learning I know. She has not written a word down ,she has not really done much drawing about it and I didn't ask her questions to see if any facts had sunk in.
I have accepted that she is learning all the time she will take what she needs at that time and may revisit at a later date or may not.
What I have tried to stop doing is to read and do things with the educational value high on my agenda, I swear Emily has an antenna that picks up my intention!!! Over the last couple of couple of weeks I have questioned whether I should make so many suggestions and I have loosened up and just let things happen.I spend time with her when she wants me to and help her when she needs it but as time has gone on (and I have to admit to thinking it would never happen)she is slowly starting to initiate things.They are things she is interested in and I am allowing her to set her own agenda.I am aware of what gets Milly's interest and I am always looking for new things to show her and if she is interested we find out more.I am trying to control the impulse to suggest too many things to let her have the opportunity to voice an interest or a need to find out more about a subject,before diving in with my suggestions.
If she wants to draw her daemon in various different settings and label the drawings then so be it, if she wants to use the computer to put songs off u tube onto her favourites she can . As she is drawing more and more pictures of Pan (her daemon) she is refining her drawing skills and labeling them is practising her writing, today after collecting u tube clips over the last few weeks she decided to sort them all into a folder I had not shown her how to do this, I can only assume she had watched me in the past and learned how to do it ,adding to her computer knowledge, keyboard and reading skills.My point is that she is learning all the time but I can't always identify what and how.Over time she has been using the atlas(looking up the places people have visited from to my blog and identifying the flags) the books that give tips on how to draw, dictionary,the Guinness book of records, you get the picture the books are there and have been used as and when.We have a wide selection that may or may not get looked at.I think I will still make suggestions to look through the various books we have or perhaps just leave them out on the table to see if this is a way to encourage a new topic or interest.
Emily may not be interested in the more traditional subjects but she is still covering a lot of ground in the things she chooses to do and Milly is not what I would call a conventional girl.
I have found a passion for the computer and I am enjoying(well pulling my hair out at times it can be so frustrating!!)gathering knowledge. I am also going to find a way to further my knowledge of photography and watercolour painting.
Now I did say I had an interest not huge talent LOL It is art in the raw!! I will show other work as I progress....
Alan has set himself a challenge to learn to play the keyboard. Now these things have been done for ourselves and Emily is around as we do them , we do not expect her to do them as well but she can if she wants, and as it turns out it seems she is interested at times and dips in and out as and when she feels like being involved.
There are many things I have an interest in and want to follow up.In the near future I intend to set up a timeline and hope to make use of some of the history books we have.Ongoing interests that may or may not spark something for Emily......