How we got into unschooling?

Tigger can knit. She learned quite a while ago and has knit a few things including a hairband for her best friend in Koigu. She knits really well with a very even tension. She can knit and purl.

But a few months ago Tigger announced that she didn’t want to knit. Knitting was my thing not hers. She took up needlepoint. She talked a lot about weaving, like gram (my mother). She did some weaving when visiting my parents recently and my mother even has a table loom that they will bring up for her when they come at the end of June.

She also liked spinning and the fact that I also did it didn’t seem to bother her. We got a second spindle at Rhinebeck last year. And then she got a new one in New Hampshire in May. She also learned to spin on a wheel (thank-you Cate). She’s been spinning a lot since she came back. And, as I said yesterday, she now wants to knit a bunny with some of her handspun.

She cast on yesterday and has been knitting reasonably steadily. Today she informs me that maybe she just needed a break from knitting. She realizes that she really wants the bunny and that is a motivator but it has moved beyond accepting that she’ll only get that if she knits it herself. She now has further knitting plans.

This afternoon she asked me if I have any flowery fabric, to make a dress for one of her dolls. I took out the quilt fabric stash (yes, I have a small one of those) and we found some suitable fabric. I also have a pattern for doll clothes that I used to make a dress for one of her dolls to match her outfit for a friend’s commitment ceremony (for want of a better term) a few years ago. The dress pieces are now cut out and she has started working on that project. But in the course of the discussion she also brought out a leaflet of knitting patterns for doll clothes (yes, I have been known to knit those, too) and indicated a few things she would like to knit for this same doll. The dress will be first because it is too warm to need a sweater right now (her words, not mine). But it seems that maybe knitting is back on the agenda.

You may wonder what all this has to do with the title of the post. The title comes from the call for entries to the Carnival of Unschooling. And those folks will be wondering why I’m talking about knitting (or maybe not, knowing some of the unschooling folks out there).

Basically, we got into unschooling because it is the only thing that works for us. Tigger doesn’t want to sit down with a bunch of workbooks and ‘do school’ for so many hours a day. And sometimes she gets into something and wants to spend lots of time on it. I don’t feel like I could force her to learn something she doesn’t want to learn and it makes much more sense to help her learn the stuff she does want to learn and make sure she is exposed to a lot of different topics that she might want to learn about.

The ability to spin is probably not a necessary skill. And it may even be one that is considered a little bit weird. But the narrowing of the curriculum is one of the reasons that we decided to homeschool. My desire for Tigger not to lose her love of learning is very important. And if what she loves learning right now is how to spin, so be it.

As for knitting, that just shows me the importance of patience. Of not worrying about her dropping something that she is good at and seems to like. Like math. Sometimes she just needs a break. And a new reason to take it up again.

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One thought on “How we got into unschooling?

  1. yep, child centered is the way to go, i wish more teachers would get it together and realize that as well. I am home now and work will die down again next week, we should do coffee or something

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