I have two rules I try to stick to, no matter what is happening.
1. Never interrupt children at play.
2. Never interrupt children in the act of creating or artwork.
Sometimes with homeschool this is hard. I have my agenda, my list of things to accomplish.
But when I see my children becoming absorbed in an activity I know that the maximum amount of learning is happening in that moment, and the best thing I can do is just let go of my agenda and follow theirs.
“…When they learn in their own way and for their own reasons children learn so much more rapidly and effectively than we could possibly teach them, that we can afford to throw away our curricula and our timestables, and set them free to learn on their own.” ~ John Holt
Today the boys got into water coloring for a little bit.
One thing I believe about art is that we should let children use real art supplies, not art supplies made especially for children. They can be taught to respect the equipment and there really is a big difference. I make sure the boys know that when they choose to use a sheet of watercolor paper they are making a commitment to that painting. They do not just say, “oops I made a mistake,” or “I’m bored,” and walk away.
I always tell them there are no errors in artwork, and we can always fix anything. I help them if I can when they get stuck. If they don’t feel ready for professional paper they can have plain white printer paper. I also often cut the water color paper up into little squares that are less intimidating.
Here they are using real watercolor paper, professional brushes and paints. It was so peaceful watching them become absorbed in what they doing.
“There is more learning in a good picture than in twenty workbooks.” ~ John Holt
“They should at least be exposed to the idea that art can be, not just a diversion, but a very powerful way of getting in touch with and expressing reality.” ~ John Holt
Jude was playing off to the side. He becomes very serious when he plays and often doesn’t want me to even look at him. This is why I really believe we should never interrupt children’s play, if we can help it. Because it’s the serious work of childhood.
“There are certain things children are obliged to do, but in play where there is no obligation, they come to something new and fresh. Play is a trying out experimenting. It’s not a joke, children don’t play for fun. They play for real, and adults don’t understand that; they laugh at what children do. To children, play is very serious.” ~ Margaret Flinsch
After awhile, Jude decided to paint too.
“This spirit of independence in learning is one of the most valuable assets a learner can have, and we who want to help children’s learning, at home or in school, must learn to respect and encourage it.”
The painting soon morphed into collage making. I’m not quite sure how that happened, but it was a very natural flow for the boys. Like it was just what comes next.
My job is just to support, nurture, watch what they do and stay out of the way.
“Honoring our child’s choices rather than imposing our own validates more than any amount of praise and adulation ever could.” ~ Janet Lansbury
When children lead, they lead us to joy. And amazingly enough, when I drop my agenda, the rest of it manages to get done ~ smoother and faster than I could have planned for, because all the boys are relaxed, happy, engaged and connected. And I get to go to bed tonight in peace with memories of a happy morning that will last forever.
Have you followed your child’s lead lately? Where did he lead you to?