It makes sense that our one important mantra comes from one important man…the man that led us down our unschooling journey. Benjamin Franklin.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
When Naturalist and I read this quote almost 2 1/2 years ago, we both were stressed to the max. She, from an ill suited and one size fits all educational mold that left her defeated and withdrawn. Me, from taking on the overwhelming job of ‘educating’ her without knowing how. As both of us read this, a lightbulb went off and we collectively relaxed. She realized that maybe she wasn’t stupid or lazy for not getting ‘it’ at school. I realized that my first step as a homeschooler wasn’t to find the things to tell her or teach her, but was to most importantly of all simply INVOLVE her.
After a year of pushing through a curriculum, the change that’s happened in the 2 years since this eureka moment has been huge! Not a lot of battles, tears, frustrations, or shutting down moments. By involving her in the process she has not only taught me how she learns, but has also taught herself. In the life of a twice exceptional learner, that is a huge obstacle that she’s overcome. And it’s a kind of empowerment that I see her bringing into all aspects of her life.
And so, this is our big requirement for anything that we do in our unschooling life. We love to find classes to take, courses to sign up for, and even curriculum to learn…but only if involvement is the primary method.
The only way I can possibly describe the difference in our homeschooling lives is that now, instead of my kids being as stiff and inflexible as a wooden board, they are like little sponges, soaking up whatever they can. Their involvement in the learning process has created a drive for them to be involved in every aspect of the world around them. It’s a dynamic that was sorely missing from their standardized world of public school.