Kids are interested in such unexpected subjects and with seemingly insatiable enthusiasm.
I’m part of this awesome group on Facebook called “my unschooler is interested in…” which is meant for other unschooling families to contribute low cost and outside-the-box ideas for exploring and/or expanding on the topic. However, my favourite thing is just seeing the hugely varied and sometimes random things that kids fixate on when given the opportunity to explore everything and anything in their world.
From a five year old interested in taxidermy to an nine year old who loves coding; kids can sometimes be interested in the most unique topics.
This is one of the reasons I love unschooling. Most of the things that Cameron gets really interested in, I wouldn’t think to ‘teach’ him. My 4.5 year old has learned about many of the common flags around the world thanks to the World Cup and his huge interest in soccer. He took a keen interest in gravity (or ‘grabity’ as he says) and space stations recently.
It’s beautiful to learn who he is through exploring what makes him happy and what he is passionate about. I love that he never hesitates to ask me a question and nothing is off bounds. I treat every question the same and answer in age appropriate ways with as much information as he needs at the time.
Learning is about making connections—connecting new information to something you already know. It helps to recognize that the best learning is really a byproduct of living; having a real, concrete reason to learn something is great motivation. With unschooling learning new facts and skills is more a side effect: bits and pieces of information they need to know along the way to accomplishing something. So whatever they are interested in at the moment will be the basis for the best learning. Not to mention the most fun and interesting! – Living Joyfully
Sometimes as well, the interest unfolds in a unique way. Cameron’s interest in dinosaurs wasn’t overly atypical, but when I realised that his real focus was on how they died and extinction in general; I discussed theories with him and introduced him to more materials and resources on extinction. From this, his interest flourished into something new and really exciting for him.
Just today he was crouched down staring intently at something. I went to see what it was and was met with “Mummy, what’s this?”
“That’s moss” I replied. Lucy came to inspect too and the questions started flowing.
He felt it and asked to take some samples home. He even took our friend and showed her.
It’s through these obscure interests that he learns so much.Without even knowing it he learns and refines the ‘basics’ through representing his knowledge, seeking answers and researching about his topics alongside me.
The thing I love is that the realisation that his interests have value to me and others has meant he learns even more things that are uniquely meaningful to him.
I wouldn’t have thought to talk to my nearly-5-year-old about moss or spores or plant classification. But here I am answering his questions and figuring out a way to see what it looks like under a microscope.
Because I’m met with more questions and wide smiling eyes. Because he finds it interesting and who knows where it will take us?
What have your children shown an interest in that surprised you?