What is natural learning? It is learning that comes naturally to the child.
But out may not seem so initially. Just as a young child learns to walk, at first it seems rather clumsy and unnatural with the child falling all the time. But eventually, with will and persistence, the child masters the act of walking that, once mastered, is as natural as breathing. It has to come from within the child. Adults cannot will it to happen. Some kids learn to walk early – at 7 months – while some learn much later. We cannot make it happen earlier for them. It is entirely up to their readiness and their willingness to do it. A child who is encouraged to explore their world freely will be more courageous to test his boundaries and less afraid of falling our hurting himself. Because he knows that he can always pick himself up again and try and try until he gets it. But a child who is constantly restricted in his movement because his parents do not want him to hurt himself will let lose the confidence to try. Learning becomes something that is feared and restricted. The child loses his ability to learn naturally.
Natural learning is learning that is self-motivated and because it is self-motivated, it has to be interest-driven. Because when the child has interest in a subject or a sport or in playing a musical instrument, he will persist at it with discipline and tenacity and would not consider it hard work because he is having fun doing it.
When we take our children’s interest as a starting point in.learning to read, for example, the outcome would be much more effective and enjoyable. Reading and writing should not be hurried if the child is not ready for them. We can continue reading aloud to them and having conversations about the stories or contents of the book. There are many reading programs in the market for early readers these days but we have to choose wisely to cater to our children’s preferences. For Arian, who is 7, his interest in movies makes books based on the movies that he likes, an obvious choice. Early readers based on animated stories work better for him than the Peter and Jane.series or other carefully planned series by established publishers. Learning to read becomes much more fun and natural for him this way. For Sam who is now 14, learning to read did not come easily due to the fact that she finds reading absolutely boring (bringing her to book shops can give her a bad headache apparently). So it was a challenge trying to get her to read anything (it still is!). But she eventually taught herself to read through songs. She loves to sing and she would search for the song lyrics online do that she could learn to song them. She also present to read through watching Japanese mangga. Because they were in Japanese, she was forced to read the English subtitles! The only books she would read are the mangga series which have English translations.
Amrita is our saving grace where reading is concerned. Not only did she have an interest in words and books as early as just a few months old (she could point to the words that we read out from the.baby board books), she also started to read before the age of three, and by five years old, she was reading chapter books! She now writes songs and blogs about her life that revolves around music, dancing and designing. These are her interests that drive her to learn more and more about them and to constantly improve herself. Her natural flair for words help her to write the many songs in her collection (she has about a hundred of them!) The good news is, we will get to hear some of them soon as she has recorded a couple of them on a studio recently.
As you embark on homeschooling, think about creating the environment where our children are able to exercise their natural capacity to learn, to grow and find their potential.