Homeschooled kids are so interesting to interact with. I enjoy talking with all kids, but I’ve found that with kids who are homeschooled, the barrier between kids and adults simply isn’t there. They are conversing with you as a fellow human being, they have curiosity about your ideas, and they assume that you’ll be interested in what they have to say. They are thoughtful and respectful of ideas, no matter whose.
I’m not just talking about the “prodigy” kids who are studying advanced math and writing their own operas at age 10. I’m talking about the way homeschooled kids explore the topics that interest them. The other night, my kids were playing video games at the home of their best friends. On the way home, they were telling me about the game and how it progressed. They collaborated with each other on remembering the sequence of events, and speculated on how things in the game might unfold based on the choices they could have made. The conversation soon evolved beyond video games (for which I was grateful!) and the bombs being used into a discussion of comets and meteorites, the types of metals they contain, and what could be made with them, both now and in the past. Homeschooled kids are genuinely interested in exploring the world around them, and conversation is an important part of that process.
In a way, homeschooled kids are akin to preschoolers, who haven’t yet entered the world of tests and cliques and correct answers. They ask a lot of questions, and allow themselves to be led off on interesting tangents. They may create lots of messes, as they jump from one project or game to another. I recently went to a friend’s house during the day, and she apologized for the mess. But to me, it looked like a rich and rewarding homeschool environment. Her older child was just sitting down with his dad to do a science project at the kitchen table, her younger child had blocks and games spread out over the living room floor, and there were books and artwork all around. The perfect place for exploring many facets of the kids’ world.
I think that kids who are allowed the space and time to explore their own interests and passions are not only receiving an education, but they are also becoming well-rounded and fascinating people. They will continue to interact with the world in creative ways, and their explorations will bring them joy throughout their lives. Here’s a related quote I ran across yesterday:
“Vocation happens when our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.” – Frederich Buechner.
I also did some recent writing on unschooling for the Feline Dreamers website; check it out if you’re interested.