I came across the following article/interview today that gained a little headline attention. It is about a homeschooling family of 12.
The headline? How We Got Our Kids in College By Age 12
To some, this may seem very impressive. To others, a little ridiculous.
Of course, keep in mind that not all college learning has to take place in an actual college building.
Regardless of whether one agrees a child should learn at a college level at that young of an age is not the focus of my posting this. I was a public school kid and due to the program I was in and my test scores (don’t get me started on test scores, though), I had the opportunity to take college classes at ages 10 and 13. I didn’t, though… and I’m okay with that. Personally, I have mixed emotions regarding it and believe that a topic of this sort (as with most topics) cannot be judged at ‘face value’. It really depends on the individual child and family, circumstances, details and, of course, many other variables.
However, one of the topics I did like about the article was the one of child directed learning. This is one of the ways that we have (and do) approach our homeschooling. For us, this simply means allowing (and encouraging) our children to pursue their interests at various levels and through various resources.
I’m a believer that each individual is called to a different journey in life. I believe we all share the same foundational purpose – to bring our Creator honor and glory, to bring what we can of His Kingdom to Earth, to love our Creator with all of our heart, being and might, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Yet, with that shared purpose, each individual has a more specific calling that they may bring Light and good and Truth in. And that each person has different interests – and this purpose, their calling – is one of those reasons we have such interests. (for the record… yes, I do believe external things can influence our interests, but I’m keeping this idea/post simple)
A child, a teen, an adult… should be encouraged to pursue what interests them. Of course we do not throw learning fractions to the curb (sorry, kids) but one should have ample freedom, encouragement and resources to pursue what interests them. And there are even ways (many times) to incorporate those “core subjects” with what interests that person.
That being said, here are some ‘pointers’ the above mentioned family shared:
Always ask your child questions. The answers will allow you to see what they are truly passionate about – and can help show you their future paths. As parents we tend to think we know what is best for our children, and in many ways, we do. However, we don’t always know how our children’s talents may translate in terms of a career. You might think they are only wasting time on a video game or the latest fashion trends. But looking further into these expressions of interest may just reveal a deeper meaning: What if your child is the designer of the next Donkey Kong? What if he or she is the next Coco Chanel or Ralph Lauren?
The problem is, most parents and teachers don’t address what a child wants to be when they grow up because there is a lot that has to occur between now and the time we get there. Moreover, you don’t want to put stress on children, making them think they have to get through all these hurdles to reach their final objective in one day. The trick is to tap into what inspires them so you know what will keep their interest. It’s kind of like a game; by discovering their core interest and focusing everything toward that, they grow amazingly fast.
Be patient. If your child is a gamer and just wants to play online for hours on end, try to play with them. Except you’re not mindless players — quite the opposite. You can ask your child provocative questions like, “How do you think the programmers created those graphics?” Pick up some magazines on the subject and let them read about it to increase their English skills, and perhaps even build some software programming skills. All of this takes extreme patience, which is something many parents have in short supply.
When properly equipped and inspired, a child will soon outdo his or her parents. That has been one of the most rewarding parts of our experience. Children can become “experts” in their own fields. Little Johnny may be able to tell friends and family all about insects, even though Mom has to force herself to smile at his latest capture. The point here is that Mom does not have to teach Little Johnny about the insect world or even like the insects. She only has to be willing to teach him how to do the research and how to write about those bugs. When researching, she should never say, “You can’t check out that book, because it’s above your grade level.” It may be above Mom’s grade level! But if she lets him check it out and learn something new, Little Johnny can explain the concepts to her in no time.
Give control to the kids. It may be scary at first, but when you see your kids beginning to read all the books they can find on their favorite topic, trust that there is real learning taking place. Reading is the most important first step and should be taught to children as soon as possible, followed by math and the rest as they mature. But if kids love reading, they will always be learning.
If you throw in intense family discussions, experiments, group projects, lots of family/homeschool group field trips, some sports, church, socializing as a family with people of all ages and cultures, and, of course, love, you will end up with a well-adjusted kid who is definitely ready for a college class or two.
read full article HERE
Do you have child directed learning in your home? What are some ways that you incorporate it?