11 April 2009

What is Life Learning?

Life Learning is a version/ branch off of unschooling. The term unschooling provokes thoughts of not being schooled. For most people, that seems to make them think of not being educated. Not only is that NOT what unschooling is, it in no way reflects what Life Learning is.

I choose to use the term 'Life Learning' to reflect not just the way I educate my children, but in fact how I raise them, and how we live life. 'Life Learning' is an apt description of how I learn also. When I am interested in something, I find a way to learn about it. When life brings about new experiences, I see it as an opportunity to learn something new. A day without learning is like a day without laughter... pretty useless.

I thought I would try to answer some of the most common questions I hear...

Q: What is 'Life Learning'?
A: Life learning is in general like unschooling... maybe it is simply a positive phrasing of the unschooling concept. John Holt originally envisioned unschooling as learning from life, without the need for the aid of a structured school setting or a curriculum. Life Learning realizes this vision. It is living life, and learning from it.

Q: How does one go about 'Life Learning'?
A: Live life, include your children in everything. Provide an enriching environment.

Q: What is an 'enriching environment'?
A: Don't expect that if your child sits and stares at the same four walls every day that they will learn anything...  bring new things into your house, or take your children to see new things. Let your children see you learning, and making mistakes. Take the time to answer their questions, and explore their dreams with them. When they express an interest, help them find ways to learn about it.

Q: What about socialization?
A: What about it? When you include your children in your life, they will learn to deal with people of all ages. And they will learn how to do that by watching you. In Public School, children are put with other children of the same age and usually lack the social skills to deal with people of other ages.
My children think of our neighbors as their friends, even the ones who are old enough to be their grandparents or great-grandparents. And when my 16 yo goes to talk with her friends about her problems, I don't worry about it... her best friends are in their twenty's and thirty's, with a few teen agers, and even one or two younger friends thrown in. Best of all, I get to be one of those resources.

Do you have a question about life learning, unschooling, or home schooling that you have never known who to ask? Leave a comment, and I will post a reply. 
I have been home schooling in some form or another for over 12 years, and we have run the gamut from purchased curriculum to the explicit life learning that we have done for at least 4 years. Our transition to unschooling and life learning started about 10 years ago... I would love the opportunity to clear up misconceptions, and answer anyones questions about this matter.

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