This morning Charlie woke up with a vision in his mind of something he wanted to create – a Nature Hat. He spent about two hours gathering, sorting, experimenting, using trial and error, asking for advice and help here and there, and eventually – creating the masterpiece you see here.
To the average eye, this was just a childhood play experiment. But really – there was a whole lot of learning going on! He measured around his head to make sure it would fit, carefully searched for twigs of the right size, tested different materials to see what would stick best, moved things around so it wouldn’t be too heavy, etc. Beyond just the creativity – there was math, science, and more.
It’s funny really… it’s so easy for us to see how natural and magical this type of lifestyle can be. Figuring out what our children are interested in, guiding them towards the information that they need to learn as much (or as little!) as they want about that particular topic, and then seamlessly moving onto the next topic. It’s almost like (gasp!) REAL LIFE!
But then… well, then we let the fear kick in.
“What if my child never learns to read or do math?”
“What if they can’t get into college?”
“What if I’m a total failure at this and they hate me?”
“How do I even know if they’re learning?”
I’m sure at one point or another you’ve had some (or all) of these thoughts pass through your mind. So don’t worry – it’s totally normal.
In fact, it’s exactly the way we’ve been conditioned to think. Our current society (especially here in America) has made us believe that if we/our children can’t perform well on a test, then they’re certainly headed for impending doom.
But, of course, deep in our hearts we know this isn’t true. Studies upon studies show us that test scores are poor reflections of what our individual children really know, and they certainly don’t show us what they are capable of!
So how DO you know that your child is learning?
You know by the spark in their eyes when they have an idea and carry it out. By the skip in their step when they wake up in the morning excited to learn or try something new. When all of a sudden, reading just *clicks* and they’re voracious readers of literally everything they can get their hands on. You’ll know when they wow a stranger with information about a topic most kids their age (heck, even most adults) wouldn’t normally have a clue about.
I know this is true because each of these experiences has happened with my children. And it happens with the children of just about all of the families that I work with every day.
Because this type of learning – child-led learning – is REAL. It’s honest and deep and meaningful. When you’re excited about something, you’re way more likely to dig deep and actually learn about it, not just memorize it for a test and then instantly forget it.
So the next time you have those moments of fear flood your mind… think about those beautiful “Aha!” moments you’ve watched your child have when they were truly excited about learning something. And know that that really, truly is enough.
PS… If you’re ready to learn more about how to follow your child’s lead in learning, check out my FREE 5-day course: Plan. Create. Learn. Figure out your child’s unique learning style, how to determine what they’re interests really are, and how to create a plan to guide them in a child-led way! Sign up for this free challenge HERE.