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Last week we took home this gorgeous pop up book called Welcome to the Neighborwood from out library. Seriously, maybe the coolest pop-up book I’ve seen to date.
After the first reading and a little discussion about how these animals all work alongside each other in their “neighborhood” my son declared, “let’s take the wasp out of the book so we can play with it”
welllll, no. We can’t deface property, and mom’s soul dies a little when people tear things out of books. But being an unschooler, I wanted to find a way to “yes” to his desire to play with the wasp while still keeping the book intact.
Enter my suggestion that we make one the next morning.
Saturday morning arrived and we set up shop at the table, with much coffee, ready to craft a 3 dimensional potter wasp.
Turns out this was a great opportunity to let my son watch me do something that I am not very good at, or in unschooling lingo, an area in which I m underdeveloped. So we worked together, but I did do most of it. He watched me mess up, struggle to understand how certain things were supposed to go together, and make a joke about howe when I try to think of things in 3-D I can actually feel my brain hurting.
“are you just joking mom?”
“kind of…but I swear I can feel it growing.”
We sat with that for a minute.
It was a fun activity and a great opportunity to show him that mom also has to tackle things that she doesn’t completely understand or particularly enjoy in order to achieve a desired end goal. As an unschooling mom, I am often asked, “If your kids don’t have to do things they don’t like, how will they ever learn things like, math, reading, writing? What if they don’t like them?” The Answer? Of course they will learn all of those things when they need them to achieve something they want.
I think John Holt has a great explanation for this when he was asked by a reader, “Without school will they have the opportunity to overcome or do things that they think they don’t want to do?”
“I’m not sure what this question means. If it means, will unschooled children know what it is to have to do difficult and demanding things in order to reach goals they have set for themselves, I would say, yes, life is full of such requirements. But this is not at all the same thing as doing something, and in the case of schooling usually something stupid and boring, simply because someone else tells you you’ll be punished if you don’t. Whether children resist such demands or yield to them, it is bad for them. Struggling with the inherent difficulties of a chosen to inescapable task builds character; merely submitting to superior force destroys it.”
This Q & A is from John Holt’s book, Teach Your Own, a great resource is you are interested in, or considering unschooling.
So, the next time you are tackling something that you struggle with, let your kids watch- Because kids just love to see their parents struggle! Just kidding, it’s a great opportunity for them to see that grown-ups have a hard time with things and have to overcome challenges, just like they do.