Thursday, 16 June 2016

What is "Natural Learning"?

This is an excerpt from an article I have written.  I can email the whole article to people if they're interested.



 If you ask ten different people what “natural learning” or “unschooling” is you may get ten different answers. So this explanation is just how I see natural learning.

When a child is confidently given permission to learn through their own discoveries, to joy in using their imaginations, running down rabbit trails and soaking up every interesting topic they come across on the way, developing a sound and godly worldview, honing and their logical and philosophical thinking skills, educating themselves and welcoming education from sources they trust – that's natural learning.

For us natural learning could also be called unschooling, or delight-directed learning, or child-led learning – and most definitely ECLECTIC learning. I read, and take information from many different educational styles – just those that suit us. We have freedom to do this with natural learning.

One of the ways our children learn things is when I am familiar with various skills and I keep those facts and figures at the front of my mind, bringing them out very naturally when the child discovers the subject by themselves.

For instance just recently one of my children was making a card for Daddy, and asked me how to spell TAKE. This particular child doesn't get angry if I ask him how he thinks it goes, so I asked “How do you think it goes?”

“I think T and A, then is it C?”

“No – K and then E”

“Ah, ok” And he was very happy.

Later on, when he had finished writing his card, and we had a quiet moment I showed him about how adding E to the end of words changes the sound of the vowel in the word. He was intrigued by this information, and wanted more and more examples. Some days later, out of the blue, he came to me with more examples. So - I was teaching him something – natural learning does allow room for TEACHING – but it has much to do with the attitude and expectation of the one doing the teaching, the attitude and readiness of the one listening, and how far the lesson goes before it can be ended on a good note. I only learned this skill when I went through a Learning Language Arts Through Literature book when an older child asked to do some exercises from that series. 


The article goes into more depth about natural learning, but for now, I'd just like to add that "natural learning" is whatever is NATURAL to the child/family.    Does the child love piles of books to read through?  Workbooks to fill in?  Questions and answers?   If so, then provide those - that's natural.   This particular child may not learn MORE than a child who prefers to be read to, time to ponder and pontificate, a child who is hands-on, or even seems rather lazy at times - they may learn the same amount in different ways, but if you find a way that is NATURAL for the child they will delight in learning, and most likely continue learning throughout their whole life without it seeming a drudgery or struggle.

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