If I don't make them, how will they ever learn to _______?

You fill in the blank.

Because we unschool and don't follow a specific curriculum or schedule, people often worry and wonder how my children will ever learn anything.  I have had it suggested to me that my boys take some classes or lessons so that they learn to listen to another adult and learn to sit quietly.  I can see where they are coming from (a traditional view of school settings) but I often wonder why?  Why do they have to?

Anywho I'm getting away from myself here. Today we went to a new church.  At this church the children stay in the service for a while before going to their class.  My boys have only done this once before, a few years back.  My point is that children a fully capable of understanding a situation and know how to behave appropriately.  They can look around to see what others are doing.  They may not be perfect, but they can do their best.  My boys both sat quietly without me between them.  They followed along, drew quietly on the bulletins and were awesome!  I didn't threaten or bribe.  We don't practice this behavior daily.  They understood that we are quiet in church and did their best.  I was one proud mama!!  I also model how to interact with others and they copy.  My boys are very comfortable talking with adults and answering questions for themselves.  In fact they love to chat.  I was so pleased that I fought the urge to stay at home this morning.

Oh, another bonus is that we went to the church down the street so the boys rode their bikes.  I was a little more tired from pushing the stroller to keep up.  I think I'll be getting a bicycle seat for the baby as his birthday gift.

In case you are wondering how these children of mine will learn to read and write without structured lessons??? They are curious and can't help but pick it up.  I read to them, they learn the alphabet and start sounding things out.  some times it takes some direct instruction (and that is okay too). The excitement of getting a word correctly motivates them to keep going.  TJ was so proud the other day to read to us.  MJ is thrilled to be starting to read too!  So we may be slower that their school friends but, it comes more naturally with less of a fight.  And writing happens that way too.   During the service MJ wrote a letter A (he was so pleased with how perfectly he wrote it). This turned into his whole name.  Next he asked how to spell different words and wrote some things down.  No lesson, just doodling quietly during the church service.  The boys also practice their writing with cards, notes, lists and other things that naturally come up in our day.

The lessons that stick with us the longest are the ones that we sought after and wanted to learn.

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I'd love to hear what you are doing too.