Saturday, November 5, 2011

Interested people interested in interesting things

I haven't had the notion to write about unschooling much lately. But just the other day I was thinking about interests... and how my family has them. A lot of them. We are often told that we are interesting people. But we are also interested people. Then I read this post by my friend Stephanie at Ordinary Life Magic and I felt inspired and affirmed. "Here's the thing-- when life is interesting, we have lots of interesting options. And we have lots of interests." Yes, ma'am. Exactly what I had been thinking (only she can say it so much prettier than I can ;)).

My husband and I have always had numerous interests. Now the children seem to be following in our footsteps.


-Hunter, age 7, is interested in wrestling, hockey, robots, engineering, helping the elderly and sick children, cooking, physics, dogs, guitar, skateboarding, comic books, math, horseback riding, theater/acting, money.

-Ronin, age 5, is interested in childbirth, homebirth, breastfeeding, makeup artistry, cooking/baking, gymnastics, theater/acting, horseback riding, cheerleading, soccer, dance.

-Even Drayken, age 2, has a few interests already... the outdoors/nature, shooting bad guys, dancing, trains, cars, any large type of automobile.

They have many interests. More than we can currently afford to pursue.

But what I was thinking was how my kids' interests is why unschooling works for them. I know that when I was a small child I didn't have a lot of interests. What few I had I was certainly not encouraged to pursue. I don't ever remember my parents asking me if I'd like to take lessons for this or that. I was enrolled in a dance class that I despised and I sucked at and that was that. Nothing else was an option.

Almost daily I find myself in a conversation with one of my children about their interests... showing them videos or television shows (which lead to more videos or television shows) or checking out books in the library. I want to always be up-to-date and in the know regarding what my children find interesting so that I can help them develop those interests.

This week Ronin had her second horseback riding lesson. While she was brushing her horse, I said to her, "This is a great skill to have. You could grow up to use horseback riding lessons as a way to earn money from home to help support your family." Her teacher looked at me funny and I explained, "I always try to encourage my children to consider skills they can attain as opposed to degrees they can earn. I have a degree and I graduated top of my class but I have very few skills that I can use in order to earn money." And this is so true. As a stay-at-home mom it would be so nice to have several skills upon which I could fall back in order to contribute to our income. At 34, I'm trying to develop some new skills so that I don't feel like such a burden.

A term I hear tossed around in reference to the type of citizen we are supposed to be trying to produce and send out in to the world is " well-rounded". I feel that the first step toward raising well-rounded children is to encourage a number of interests. The next step is to hand them as many resources as is feasible that will help them develop those interests into skills. The third step, I believe, is to then step back and let them do the rest. As long as they are interested in something, they will find their way if they are given enough space, enough free/down time, and the freedom to follow their dreams, no matter how "impractical" they may seem by society's standards.

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1 comment:

  1. Awesome!
    Well-rounded is kind of funny, and though I find it over-rated I do understand it... what makes my head ache is "holes in their education". Honestly. I've probably got permanent brain damage or at least long-term eye strain from rolling my eyes at that one.
    Who in this world could NOT have some sort of hole (or six dozen) in their education??? Sheesh.
    We all have interests, things that are simple or relevant to us (our spirits or even our heads).
    Musicians are not archaeologists AND mathematicians AND poets AND chemists AND brilliant seamstresses AND chefs AND sculpters AND carpenters AND engineers AND ceo's AND awesome Mamas AND brewers AND gardeners AND car mechanics AND professional house painters.... good grief.

    But yes! Interesting opportunities means interested and interesting people. :)
    And hopefully Happy ones!! :)


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