We need to find creative ways of changing the normative culture.
A powerful tool is ideas on learning.
I leave you with some ideas that we use in our family.
Educate yourself – read books, articles on education and various learning methods (John Holt, Peter grey, Montessori, Waldorf, Singapore or democratic techniques, to name just a few)
Understand learning has a cyclical flow of awareness (it’s not a routine or nine to five endeavor) – it happens all the time. Don’t judge when your child seems away, not interested, or bored. Sometimes it seems that nothing is happening, and that’s a critical learning phase, especially in incorporating abstract concepts. Daydreaming is essential for dynamic and transformational learning.
Engage in everyday life – actively find learning invitations and relations all around your daily life. Profound questions and deep inquiry is lurking all around you.
Give space and tools for critical thinking – Give time and space for opinions. Don’t answer quickly. Give options and information, and let it simmer. Give it time, pause, reflect, think, or create, even (and especially) on what seems so obvious to you, the adult.
Learning is not measurable, and it is not a competition – I have been completely schooled until college, and my personality and sense of worth were attached to “good grades”, being an A student. When we take that grading system, was is left of you? What opportunities school gave you, and what challenges and missed chances it brought? For me, this was one of the most challenging inquiries I’ve ever made, for it got me deep into myself and who I was beyond the grading system.
Create your own community of people, interests, and places – I’ve found that we need to create this community and let it evolve through time. It is like a relationship. It takes time to nurture.
Generate rich environments for curiosity – leave books or articles around to be found, travel, visit museums, go hiking, explore, play games…
Work in/with multidisciplinary projects – when you a theme or concept you want to explore that usually does not fit neatly into just one category or discipline. Use them all, cross information, and areas of knowledge.
Follow the questions your child generates – but also their rhythm. There’s no need to amplify some answers or prolong “teaching” if there is no listening. But listen carefully to their inquiries, what are they really asking about?
Always talk about difficult issues on the level understood by the child – don’t avoid difficult themes when they emerge around you, never.
I’m not their teacher. They learn from virtually everything everywhere – we only learn when we are interested. No one does that for us. That does not mean there aren’t inspiring peoples around us.
Embrace awkwardness – every time!
Laugh a lot – it helps to take the seriousness out of trial and error (virtually every learning process)
Read a lot – every type of books, magazines, blogs.
The bottom line is we’re all curious explorers, learning together – so don’t ever think you’ve got everything figured out because guess what… children grow and change so fast and it is wonderfully intense.