Home Schooling… at 3 years

Home schooling has always been in our mind. But we did not think about it seriously till a few months back. As our little daughter’s third birthday was nearing, we were bombarded with questions about her schooling. Relatives and friends were in the habit of asking if she has started school yet. Friends and cousins were always eager to engage us in a discussion on the best schools in our locality.

We were reluctant to send her away to school. Our own experiences at school were mixed. There have been many happy years, and many more stressful years. Did we want her to go through a similar journey? No… we wanted her to experience life and enjoy it. A closed school room, generic curriculum or exams did not seem to agree with this.

So, we started exploring un-schooling. A month after her third birthday, we were at cross roads. We had to talk or meet someone who had experienced un-schooling. Without this step, we could not convince ourselves on the un-schooling approach. After a day of extensive online searching, we contacted Ms. Urmila Samson. A 10 minute conversation with her enforced every urge we had to take the un-schooling path.

Unschooling

Unschooling

Since then, we have not taught her anything. She has recently started asking questions. Her questions revolve around people, feelings, and nature. Apart from answering her questions, we make up random stories about animals and birds. 1 or 2 stories have become regular bedtime features. She also enjoys cartoon shows on TV, and animated songs on the net. In addition to fluent Tamil, cartoons and rhymes kindle her interest in learning English words. Of late, she has started framing short English sentences like “What do you want?”, “Where are you going?”,…

We got her a small computer toy when she was 2 years old. One of her favourite games is alphabet identification. She has picked up all English alphabets through this game. The Spelling game is still beyond her understanding, though I see her give it a try often.

She is familiar with colours, shapes, numbers, birds and animals. I guess she picked them up through interactions in daily life. Learning these are bound to happen for every child naturally. More interesting is the way she interprets feelings, relations, social interactions, etc. She often asks me why I talk in a particular manner when I sound angry or pre-occupied. She tries to mimic my voice and feelings… And this has made me become more conscious of my own feelings and how I express them. She talks to our pet dogs now. I also see her making efforts to communicate her thoughts clearly.

She has many questions for her dad everyday… The last two days, I have heard them talk about the world and cities during bath time. As we were going over the birds encyclopedia today, she pointed to the world map and asked where Hyderabad was. It started off a series of questions around why the world illustration could not clearly show all cities.

I know we are making baby steps in the path of natural education and un-schooling. But regardless of what name we give it, we are enjoying every moment of this.

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