Whenever my kids are playing hard and having the BIGGEST fun doing whatever kids do, when no one is telling them what to do I always ask them, “What are you working on?” I use the word “WORKING”. I call their activity a PROJECT. They never say “Nothing, I’m just playing.” No, they go into a detailed description of something amazing, that starts with: “I’m trying to build a… I’m figuring out how to… I am making a… I’m taking this thing apart… I’m putting together a new!”
When they are playing they are often doing work that is very meaningful and important in their eyes. I have a daughter who was always very, very busy, I was always trying to pull her away from her “play” as if it were a waste of time, because I didn’t yet see the value of play. After all, she was 9 and should be doing things that look like school. She knew how to read and write, and she was always in her own world.
One day it was raining outside and she was looking out the window. She had been there for a long time. She was supposed to be in the school room with her science book. I was about to tell her to stop sitting around and get back to work. Then I noticed she had a notebook with all these strange little marks, pictures, checks and numbers. So I asked, “What are you doing?”
“Oh, I was just charting the storm, timing the lighting and the thunder and measuring sound and distance. I’ve been charting the weather for about a month.”
I started unschooling that child on that day, and at that point I began to ask my kids what they are working on when they seem to be playing or busy. They always amaze me with their answers.I couldn’t find anything in the 3rd grade school books that could have been more educational and meaningful than the research our daughter had been doing on her own. I just began to ask more often what she was working on and then I began doing everything I could to support those interests. She is the one who recently gave me the ideas for the 10- and 12-Subject Portfolios! I think it is funny that my unschooled child would be the one to want to design such a structured subject-by-subject learning plan for herself!
She has learned so much about so many subjects over the years and now she wants to put all her knowledge together in a Portfolio that is well organized.
All of my children need differing amounts of structure, motivation, instruction, teaching, guidance, assignments, evaluation, and follow-up with their learning. They are all unique. My dyslexics need a lot of my help and investment when it comes to learning to read, write, and spell. Dyslexia Games makes it easy, now that it exists. (continue reading by clicking Page 2 below)