Tuesday, 27 March 2012

How Children Learn According to Sophie



I've been pondering how children learn. So has Sophie...


Sophie: If you want to learn something you have to be interested in it... like the elephants I was reading about today. That was really interesting and I remember so much.


Sue: What happens if you're not interested?


Sophie: Then it all goes straight out the door. You don't absorb it.


Sue: Can you learn something like times tables even if it's not interesting?


Sophie: Yes, because you can use those.


Sue: So you can learn things that are needed?


Sophie: Yes. I use my time tables all the time. They're really useful for telling the time - the five times tables, you know. Then I use them for calculating money... Did you know you can use multiplication to do additions? And you can multiply back to front. Actually, times tables are very interesting.


Sue: Interesting and needed?


Sophie: Yes. I didn't used to think they were interesting. It depends on how you learn them. There's some really boring ways of learning maths... like workbooks.


I guess Sophie and I came to the same conclusion: 


Children will learn what they need to know or what they find interesting, and sometimes what they need to know actually turns out to be far more interesting than they first thought. I never pointed out the advantages of learning times tables to Sophie. She discovered these for herself. She's been doing a lot of thinking... 


... just like me. And I'm thinking that I can read all the books about education I like but I'll probably discover far more about how children learn by observing and listening to my own children.

14 comments:

  1. A wise child your Sophie :-)

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    1. Beate,

      This was a conversation Sophie and I had just before she went to bed last night. It started with the words, "I've been thinking, Mum..." Sometimes our children surprise us with their thoughts and yes, their wisdom!

      God bless!

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  2. Experience is a great teacher, isn't it? I can really relate to this. After all these years of homeschooling, I also find that it's more useful to talk to the children and watch than reading how other people do it. Though, sharing helps, too. Thank you for sharing your thoughts:)

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    1. Vicky,

      I always enjoy reading about other people's experiences but sometimes I fail to do the obvious and talk to and watch my own children! I'm glad you still like sharing otherwise who will read my posts and stop to comment? Always good to discuss things with you.

      God bless.

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    2. Sue, I'm going to qualify my statement, even though I know you're having a laugh at me and you know I know you're having a laugh at me(!) I meant, sometimes, we get distracted by what other people are doing when we're doing fine, already. I think that we can lose confidence unnecessarily if we allow that to happen. But, of course, it's always great to share and swap ideas. Now, I feel better and you can stop teasing;-) xx

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    3. Vicky,

      I knew what you meant because you are my sister! And as I'm the oldest I am allowed to tease you. Love you!

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  3. Amen to that! I've learned a lot from this, our first, year of unschooling. It's been very interesting to see what I was so afraid of not come up at all. The kids really do learn in spite of my efforts.:)

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    1. Grace,

      You said, "The kids really do learn in spite of my efforts.:)" That makes me smile! Maybe we have this idea that so much depends on us the parent when our children are quite capable and willing to learn, without all the elaborate plans and input we think they need. I'd be interested to hear more about what you feared might happen but didn't. Are you encouraged to continue unschooling?

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  4. That Sophie is one smart girl. She could make a good living speaking at homeschool conventions -- that is, IF she is interested.

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    1. Pam,

      I showed this post (and the comments) to Sophie this morning, and a big smile spread over her face. To her, we were just having a quick conversation before bed. She is surprised she said anything worthy of a post! I think unschooling produces kids that think. Imogen (17) has just started her first university unit and she is impressing her tutor with her ability to put her thoughts into words. It's moments like these that give me confidence. Have to write about the university experience some time!

      Speaking at homeschool conventions? I can just imagine that. Years ago when my eldest was 6, we attended a conference where there was a panel of homeschooled teenagers and young adults. They talked about their upbringing and answered questions and I was impressed! Sometimes it is much more helpful to talk to the children who have been unschooled or
      homeschooled instead of reading books about the theory behind it all.

      Thank you for your comment!

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  5. Great post. Children can teach us so much, if we just listen.

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    1. Colleen,

      We can get so busy and involved with life that we don't spend enough time listening to our children but when we do... Sophie really wanted to share with me last night and she made me think.

      It's always lovely to see you visiting my blog. Thank you!

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  6. Sophie is very wise! She also looks like you in this picture. Think she may become a teacher?

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    1. Noreen,

      Sophie will like how you said she looks like me. She is our 'different' child being darker than the others. Also she is going to be a whole lot taller than any of us girls. I can't believe how quickly she is catching me up in height. Then again I am hardly tall - just over 5 ft.

      A teacher? Maybe she will follow in Andy's footsteps. I suppose she hears a lot about education from listening to our conversations. At the moment Sophie wants to be an artist but she is only young and ambitions change.

      God bless!

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