The things is, learning is not a straightforward concept. People keep wanting to straighten the curls and create the line you can safely walk on in your pursuit of information. Therein lies the problem. Lines do not accommodate much freedom to wiggle your toes, or your brain cells for that matter.
It took me a while to figure out the line thing. In some ways, I had to, given that the boys learn at home. In homeschooling, we’re anything but straight lines. Squiggles. Artesian fountains of thoughts and ideas, zigzags, much like the flight of the many small birds our pup engages in chasing on any given morning. Lack of focus, you might be tempted to say. Hardly, and here’s why:
There’s an intricate feeling of being silently patient while waiting for the big picture to appear in the boys’ minds. It does, without fail. It takes patience, like I said, and trust. I think kids can feel that you’re giving them the time of day to make sense of what their mind acquires through reading, touching, seeing and hearing. And I dare say they know when they are not rushed or pressured in any way, when they are free to play with concepts and not feel self-conscious.
I like to think of that process of eventually seeing the big picture and understanding where and how everything fits in as the building of an island. I watch bits of this and that falling into a hungry ocean; their mind (any human mind for that matter). The more knowledge in whatever form (yes, mishaps count!) their minds come in contact with, the more bits accumulate. Where? That’s where trust comes in.
One day, an island emerges. All the bits that kept being engulfed by their hungry minds, they danced their invisible dance, neurons making new friends every day, doors opening, new breeze of satisfaction paving the way with even more curiosity… an island appears, and in the middle of it, a child, grinning and holding up his happy heart, celebrating knowledge! It’s when things make sense.
There is no timing on it so don’t rush them. There are no boundaries to learning either, so yes, follow some curriculum to a certain extent, but never stop them from exploring. Learning is magic if you let children follow that sparkly path curiosity leads them on. Learning is joyful, so much in fact that one day Tony wondered ‘If I like this so much, does it count as school?’
That’s when it’s my turn to smile big and count the many blessings of witnessing the way they learn. Tears always follow. Then, we start anew. We wobble some more (yes, again), we doubt and wonder if this is still the way to go (yes, again) and we find that trust grows stronger with each island that peeks out from below the waves.