One of the best parts about unschooling and following a ‘curriculum of curiosity‘ is watching what your child shows interest in. It’s beautiful to watch them enthralled by a subject. The beauty of curiosity is in it’s ability to transform into knowledge and effortlessly inform.
In my recent post about unexpected interests, I shared how sometimes (oftentimes for me with my eldest) kids surprise you with what they want to know more about.
Back in the 30 Days to Transform Your Play series, we spoke about identifying an interest. Today I wanted to encourage you to honor your child’s interest and create a space for it (both physically and metaphorically) regardless of what it is.
Metaphorically, we need to give them the space too. It is important to sit back and let them lead how the interest unfolds. Let the interest develop and evolve organically. It can sometimes be hard to not jump in and provide too much help and/or information. It’s crucial to give them space to ask questions and seek answers themselves.
Somewhat related, it can be hard to see the value in something your child finds fascinating. Sometimes it is a character or game, or even something you don’t particularly like. But what we need to remember is that this life long love of learning we are facilitating depends on us nurturing these interests. We have to protect their enthusiasm.
Children need to feel that our wonderful rich varied world is interesting in all the ways that they discover. They need to feel that what makes them curious and makes them wonder is significant and important to us. Children needn’t feel like there is a hierarchy of importance of knowledge.
The only hierarchy is their own inner guide of curiosity.
After watching mosquitos in our sandpit and swatting them away at various creeks we have been visiting, Cam is now obsessed with mosquitos. We have been watching HD videos of mosquitos laying eggs and biting humans. It’s brilliant to watch his eyes wide with wonder watching the abdomen of a mosquito swell with blood.
I certainly wouldn’t pick it as an interesting topic to investigate and learn about, personally. But it’s important to him and the questions flow effortlessly. Ultimately, this is how natural learning unfolds. Not by force nor simply by chance; but by allowing that space for curiosity to flourish as well as showing that you respect their interests.
So when he excitedly asked about mosquito babies, I decided to create a little space for his interest. I purchased some life cycle figures and found a book that shows his very favourite part about them (and the part we all hate!) – a mosquito sucking blood.
Cam is pretty used to me creating these spaces now. But the little knowing smile when he came across this set up was something that spurred me to write this post.
The key is to tune into and accept your child’s unique interests and curiosity. That way we can live a life enriched by the happy pursuit of genuine passions and meaningful experiences.
Ultimately I want him to guide the path. I’ll be here encouraging him to go deeper and find his own solutions. Giving him the space – both a tangible and metaphorical space to explore, is the answer.
Do your child’s learning spaces involve their interests?