Friday, June 20, 2008

Internal Motivation for Learning

I speak a lot about internal motivation being what drives an individual to learn, not someone else's agenda for the person. This is one of the main aspects of Unschooling that seems so hard for people to understand and surrender to because it requires so much *Trust* in our children.

Unschooling is an amazing balance of *Being There* with our kids to observe and notice when that internal motivation is kicking and and then facilitating and helping our kids feed that internal motivation. Without both parts of the *Whole* the child is being neglected in his wanting to learn more about something. We need to be there as active, involved parents....not to lead....but to assist, to offer, to respect when we need to take a step back also. My children very honestly, and purely let us know what they need. It is my job to listen and *Be There* tuned in by their side to be able to facilitate their learning.

I don't mean to just be there physically. It is important for me to *be there* energetically and emotionally and be in tune with my kids so much I see that internal motivation shining like a bright light informing me that it is time to offer, support and encourage so that my kids can learn whatever it is they want to know.

There is so much talk in mainstream parenting about the belief that there is a rare "window of opportunity" in which a child is ready to learn certain things.. It is presented to us as specific, vital times in a child's life with arbitrary dates and ages. It makes learning seems technical, mysterious and difficult. We are told that if we miss these vital "windows" that our children will never learn certain things. We are told that we need to force feed this information to our children over and over again until they "get it". I believe that this idea is totally false and in fact, damaging to the learner.

I know when my children are ready to learn something new because they tell me. They show me. I know because I am here, present and connected. I know exactly when those "window's of opportunity" are open because my kids let me know. I do not need to have someone else tell me when they are ready to learn certain things. It isn't as complicated as we are led to believe. It is truly easy....Joyful....and peaceful because we go with the flow of learning and it is an organic, natural process that is supposed to feel good. It does feel good, we are living proof!

Ivy saw me making a grocery list and wanted to make one too. She said, "Mom, how do I draw those?". I said, "Do you mean letters?" "Ya, letters." she said "I want to make a list too".

I sat with her for a while, but she wasn't into me showing her how to do it. She wanted total independence in her exploration, but she was frustrated because she didn't know where to begin. I brainstormed for a few minutes of what I could offer her that would help her on this path. I remembered the cool Leap Frog letter fridge toy we have that tells you the letter and sound when you put in each letter.

Wow....did she love this! She sat for a really long time listening to different letter sounds. I showed her one way she could hold her pen. Then she began copying the letters onto paper. She was writing letters! It was amazing! She made herself a grocery list and brought it with us. At the store she kept showing me what she "needed" at the store.. " need a "K" Ivy! Great!" She is such a unique learner . It is what makes this life so interesting and fun as an Unschooling Mom. I joyfully facilitate all of my children's learning, and I do it in such different way for each of my kids. I truly love my life.


Candy Cook said...

Totally interesting post.

Anonymous said...

I am starting to understand this concept more and more now that my daughter is 1 and walking. No matter how much I held her hands up and "walked" her, she just up and did it when she was ready. It was the most amazing thing ever.