“”Everybody is a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it’ll live its whole life believing that it’s stupid?” Albert Einstein
When I first heard this quote I thought to myself “that is me!, I am that fish!” My whole life it’s felt like I have been searching for that thing, the thing that will make me feel like I could be me! Although maybe I didn’t even know there was such a thing as water! I just felt I was more, I could be more, I had more. But here I am a few days after my 33rd birthday and I have come to know truth, that I have been aiming to climb and feeling like I am constantly failing when really I was born to swim.
Learning naturally and at home is going to look different for each and every family, it’s an extension of ourselves, our experiences and outlook on how we want to spend our days. I guess that’s why in the early days we so often question are we doing it right? Is this enough? Am I enough?
Our choice ( my partner and I ) to choose a path of more self-directed learning for our family, has stemmed from our own journey, to a deeper understanding within ourselves of our experiences in mainstream learning environments and weighing up the “rewards” in real-time life experiences and opportunities. I feel the most genuine and enriching learning experiences I have had have been those I have undertaken under my own free will and with real, authentic passion for what it is I am embarking upon. Through these experiences I have found the deepest self understanding, the most enriching learning that has supported me throughout my life and not just for a season. I have made connections and friendships that have nurtured my spirit and path. I have found the fullest of satisfaction in the activity or experience I am doing at that time which has given me a real sense of value and gratitude for the experience of life. This is the foundation I want to lay for my children.
I realise with each passing day that this is so much bigger than education, it’s a way of life. We are laying the foundations on which our children will model their lives upon. I was only thinking this morning that as we enrol our children into a system that defines to them, not with them what they should be learning, how they should be learning, to force them to endure learning things that have no value or resonance to them. We are saying that this is how you should feel in your workplace, this is how your job and career must feel. You just trudge on through! With every path there is always hurdles and parts that seem a little chore like, but when we are passionate and purposeful about our work we are still happy to do these things, it’s our choice and they still add value to our lives.
Are we genuinely satisfied with the outdated curriculum and delivery of it within our schools? Will what our children be learning now even be of relevence when they leave school? Do we send our kids off to school not through real feeling of choice but more through societal pressure? Are we even aware of our options? It’s such a big choice how we educate our children, yet a lot of us feel we have very little power to choose a different path. I am not anti school, I think there is a need for re establishment of the current, tired system. There needs to be more options, more hands on deck, more out of the box learning. Places where children can go and learn freely, undertake self-directed approaches and projects, where they have ample time and space to be free and play amongst nature. Where their learning is THEIR learning and it is tailored to them and their ideas. A place they love to learn and feel safe. A place where their best selves can flourish, do we rush a flower to bloom? We allow it to take it’s course to become it’s full expression not comparing it to all the other flowers who bloomed a little earlier or differently. Why are we so scared to let our children learn at their natural pace? Human instinct is to learn, we are naturally curious beings, where there is questioning there will be evolving. From the moment we are born it is our natural way to attain knowledge, we watch, observe, play, mimic, role play, discover, create, grow, test, then we ah ha! learn. It’s what we are born to do.
I want so much for my kids to have the space in their lives to really learn about themselves. For once they learn about themselves and their connections in the natural world they can then project their brilliance outwards. I also want for my children to learn about science, maths and english. To have a hold on all the academics but I want for them also to know these intimately, knowing how to use them in the world, how to use them to be of service and practically in their lives. To journey through life curiously and relying on their skill set which they will develop at their own pace and need, to learn to adapt and grow with the challenges and tasks at hand. I want for them to have the freedom to choose their path not from the list of A,B or C on the university entrance list but from that place in their gut and heart that drives their life purpose. Above all what I want doesn’t really matter because it’s uniquely theirs, I can only supply the space, the example, facilitate and nurture but this is their self-directed learning and I completely trust in them to find exactly what they need, when they need it. I will be there to support them all the way.
For me I have been a fish trying to climb but it was when I became a mother I begun to swim. Not only did I swim but I wasn’t fighting the current, I was guided by something greater that me and something within me at the same time. I have had to un-do so much of the “education” that I received on so many levels and it’s only truly now that I am coming to learn to know myself intimately and therefore moving forward with my life’s work purposefully and from the heart. We are all so precious, we are all here with intention, life’s such a sacred passage and we should all have the space to develop ourselves as uniquely and timely as we need. Our days should be spent pursuing our interests, being engaged and connected and working towards a better world for everyone. Whether we are a child or an adult we all have the capacity to grown, learn and evolve into our best selves. So do the things that you fear, live genuinely and pure of heart and never stop learning.