The Things You Didn’t Expect Them to Like

Earlier this month, Carma talked about Strewing Vs. Self-Discovery – and how, while strewing is an awesome way to help introduce your family to new things, the fact is…

Your children are PEOPLE.

And, like all other people, regardless of age or educational background, they know what they like.

Fighting a Double Standard

I get kind of annoyed at the double standard so many people have with children.

You know what I mean. Adults kind of get a “pass” on their preferences.

Yep, that’s my 12-year-old daughter. Black T-shirts and mohawks. She knows what she likes!

For instance, I don’t like lima beans. But no big deal; I don’t cook lima beans, so it rarely even comes up. If I want to decorate my house a particular way or wear certain clothes, well, that’s what I do.

Yet when our children express preferences that go at all outside the norm, people can be awfully critical.

If she tries lima beans enough, she might develop a taste for them!

Why don’t you encourage her to wear girlier colors, or keep her hair longer?

As if my daughter Sarah’s non-lima-ness and her preference for blue is causing her irreparable harm?!

It carries over into learning, of course.

The Myth of Being Well-Rounded

One of the biggest concerns I hear when I talk about our non-school-like approach is, “That’s not very well-rounded!”

It’s been 15 years since my high school graduation, and I’ve probably forgotten 9/10ths of what I learned to pass tests. Am I a well-rounded adult? Not really.

My history knowledge, especially, is abysmal. I was the type to memorize – and promptly forget. It’s hypothetically possible I did not know that the Apollo 13 astronauts lived, or what the Bay of Pigs was, or what year the Civil War ended, until after I was married and my husband kindly helped me out.

Is that because I didn’t have a “well-rounded” education? Nope.

It’s because I didn’t care. Even now, history is not something I tend to dig into on my own, though I don’t mind following along on my family’s adventures. But I certainly didn’t strew much in that area for my daughter!

The Things You Can’t Predict

I was a math major. My daughter has an almost pathological dislike for the subject.

But Sarah loves history. SHE taught ME most of what I know about the space program. She knows more about the Titanic than most college students. And she’s passionate about Native American studies.

I’ve had a great time learning along with her, but it’d be unfair to say that I did anything to encourage her history knowledge.

Anything, that is, except stand back and give her room to explore it. And, okay, spending $20 on the world’s largest dry-erase timeline of history, and finding a place to hang it.

Formality Not Required

I could absolutely fill my daughter’s days with “strew” designed to foster an interest in math and science – my passions.

There are things in those areas that she likes – and I do share them!

I could also find resources in the areas of history she likes, which sometimes happens.

But one of the most wonderful things about homeschooling, and especially about the freedom we’ve found in unschooling, is that it’s OK if I’m not “doing” something to facilitate learning. I don’t always have to!

Sarah is a person. An awesome, wonderful, unique person.

And her instinct is to pursue the things she’s passionate about.

I don’t necessarily need to create formal unit studies or enroll her in classes. I just need to let her be, and to encourage her to trust her own passions.

How are you trusting YOUR kids today?

~ Joan

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