Each of us have certain qualities and characteristics that define us or make us different from everyone else. As a parent, don’t you love the differences in each of your children, how they learn, how they think and act, and what interests them? It’s such a joy to provide an environment where those differences can be nurtured and appreciated. If you have more than one child, and they are given time to pursue their interests, you will find that one child may enjoy hours on end reading, another loves to spend hour upon hour drawing and exploring their creative side. Some will gravitate towards video games and technology. All of these avenues are ways of learning.
The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
Is it really reasonable to believe that every sixth grader will be passionate about learning about early civilizations for history? That they will be ready to comprehend ratios and define median and mode? Setting up learning expectations by age, and ignoring individuality breeds boredom for some and frustration for many, teachers and students alike. Yet we set up these rules by ages and forget about individuality much too often. Respecting individuality in our children teaches us a lot. Not only about the topic at hand, but of individuality and respect for differences.
We tell our kids to think out of the box, yet that is not how we set up their learning. Educating the masses has led to cookie cutter children. They all learn the same thing at the same age, with the same people year after year. John Taylor Gatto
briefly discusses what he calls the conformity function. Schools often function in a way that makes children as alike as possible. I think it’s a glorious thing to celebrate the differences we each possess. I say it makes life more interesting. Homeschooling, particularly unschooling, provides an environment where uniqueness can be celebrated. Conformity is not the name of the game.
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).”
― Mark Twain
So tell me what makes you different? What differences do you celebrate in your children?