Monday, May 8, 2017

The Trouble with Self-directed Learning

What the Teacher Told Us To Do

I was all smiles when Twinkle came out of her first dance class. She had been begging for ballet lessons for almost a year and finally gotten her wish. She looked at me with her almost-four year old pouty face and said, "I didn't get to do anything I wanted! All we did was what the teacher told us to do."

I stifled a laugh. This, I thought, is the trouble with self-directed learning.

Philosophies of Learning at Odds

Twinkle had been attending preschool at a democratic school for two half-days per week for four months. Outside of school, I draw from the authoritative parenting camp (something I've learned a lot about from Janet Lansbury). So at home and at school, she was accustomed to being heard and having a say in what goes on.

So this type of setting, with this type of philosophy of education (where the adult imparts knowledge), was new for my daughter. It was out of the ordinary for us, if ordinary for mainstream.


My reply to her was, "It wasn't what you expected?"


"What did you do that you liked?"

And we went on.

A Living Book

I reminded her of "Tallulah's Tutu" - a book about earning your tutu through commitment and hard work. That was how we reconsidered dance lessons. Twinkle decided that she did, in fact, want to learn ballet, to commit to attending class and performing in the end-of-year recital. Then she would choose if she wanted to continue.

Her Experience of the World

While I watch her as she moves between homeschool, democratic preschool, and mainstream activities (ballet, public kindergarten, etc.), I tell myself that this is her experience of the world.

It is hers to make sense of and to decide how she wants to be part of it.

My job is to provide a safe place to come home to, a home life filled with books, music, and rich conversations about the world...and to lead us into the community with openness and curiosity.

This was written as part of the GHF Blog Hop. Surf over to read more...

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely and inspiring story! Thank you for sharing it. The right living book can make so much difference, can't it?