Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Unschooling and Japanese Lessons

Unschooling works on the philosophy that children are naturally curious about the world and when they are in an environment that supports that curiosity, they will have both the time and the room to blossom and explore all that the world has to offer them.

Recently Sophia shared with me that she was interested in learning some Japanese. She asked if our neighbor, who is a native of Japan, could teach her. Well, she could not have picked a better person! Ryoko is not only good hearted, but she is calm and ever so patient.

The cool thing about unschooling, in my opinion, is that the kids develop a sense of who they are and what methods of learning work best for them. So, before the first lesson at our house, Sophia asked if I could sit in on the lesson so she would feel more comfortable. No problem. Also, she made a list of things she wanted to learn. Never having a school experience, Sophia has always had it in her mind that if she is going to do something, she is going to do it in a way that benefits her. Otherwise, she has too many other wonderful things to do. I love that about her!

We have had two lessons so far. After lesson one, Sophia ran around the house practicing all the introductions Ryoko had taught her. She didn't need any reminders to study because she was choosing to do this on her own. At the second lesson, she was able to do some very elementary type conversations with Ryoko. "Good evening." "How are you?" I am fine."

She is already looking forward to lesson three. I know that she will either want a few more lessons and then decide she got everything from this she was searching for and will be ready to move onto the next thing, or it will be a commitment she is ready to make for a long time. Either way, I am fine with it. I like that she isn't afraid to go after what she wants to learn and she isn't afraid to stop when she knows she has had enough.