The unschooling and relaxed homeschooling sites always promised me this would happen. They promised that if I provided my children an environment rich in experiences and opportunities, and I offered them encouragement and space to explore, that they would ask to learn things. That they would naturally be drawn to trying, learning, reading, doing.
And after 12 years of homeschooling, I’m still thrilled when it happens, and surprised that it doesn’t happen when and where I thought it should.
Right now, I have an 11-yo voluntarily studying a science curriculum designed for 7th/8th graders, a 13-yo who begged to study ancient Greek history and wants to volunteer to haul hay at a horse farm for handicapped kids, and a 16-yo who (after a lifetime of dedicated couch-potato-hood) wants to exercise for an hour a day and (after a lifetime of scorning powertools and construction work) to build sets and assemble furniture for the community theater.
Each of them was inspired to start these projects by different factors, combinations of friends’ influences and previous school projects and simply internal joys that they’ve discovered by trying something new.
It’s lovely when they beg to learn. I love it.
And yet, I’m still cracking a whip because there are things they don’t want to do. Math. Sigh. I’m still seeking balance.