The curly-haired, bright-eyed little four-year-old bypassed the Maker Station. He bypassed the wooden blocks station. He bypassed the hands-on STEM activities. Instead, we spent hours at the tug of war contraption that demonstrated force, the tubes that allowed kids to get lost in the twists and turns of a maze, and built seven foot towers out of huge blocks only to knock them down.
In essence, anything that caused him to slow down, my son was not interested in doing at Science City. I had to smile and appreciate the lesson in learning.
Let them play. Learning is not always on a time table. Are those activities everyone says they “should” be doing, really what they should be doing if there is no interest?
It reminded me of my immense excitement in teaching my own child how to read. I had always looked forward to that. Jonas, my son, loves to be read to. We read every night, with very few exceptions. He soaks up knowledge quickly and knows more about sea creatures than I ever have. But, he will not let me teach him how to blend cvc words. He will not practice any sight words. There’s no “let’s sit down and learn this.”
Though I’m partly bummed about his unwillingness to let me teach him, I am also amazed at the results of not pushing learning on him. We have facilitated learning, but not pushed it. (ie, I never make him sit and blend cvc words).
But, his vocabulary is massive, using words like perseverance, hypothesis and consideration. His ability to pull up facts (that he has an authentic interest in) is amazing. He always reminds me to raise my voice when I read a sentence with an exclamation point. He carries on a conversation in an adult-like give-and-take manner. He knows every letter and every sound, with very little teaching from me, but rather through the songs and games on different media he interacts with.
He is learning in authentic ways. Not on my time table. Not even the skills I would “like” him to know. But he is soaking up every piece of knowledge he wants to.
I will never know everything about teaching, coaching, or education. But, parenting has taught me a lot. Yes, we have a curriculum. Yes, there are benchmarks to hit. But, let us not totally take away authentic learning, play and interest. The results of those things are immeasurable! I see it every day in my son.