As a child I remember having dreams, of things I want to do, places I wanted to go to and goals I wanted to achieve. Some were wild and crazy while others were tame and downright boring and yet others were just sheer impossibilities. These dreams all shared boundless imagination, great hope and infinite optimism. These dreams brought me great joy and anticipation. But – yes there is always a but – somewhere along my journey to adulthood those dreams withered and faded into the past. It’s almost as if the passage to adulthood is the extinguishing of dreams.
My children often remind of me of my own childhood in which I find scraps of dreams lost. Inspired by them I have slowly began to piece together some of my chilcdhood dreams. In supporting my children’s dreams, I have awakened in me a drive to do the same for myself. So now I practise day dreaming regularly (I call it meditation) where anything is possible and when I am done, I plan its realisation.
28 years ago, a dear friend, Dr Khaleel Ismail told me about a mountain whose biodiversity was unmatched anywhere else. At its foothills, lay a rainforest and at it’s peak, a snow cap. I was immediately drawn to this mountain within my dreams. I dreamt of watching the sunrise on this snow capped peak. For many years I tried to realise this dream, but somehow it too faded into the black hole of lost dreams.
One fateful day in May 2011 while paging through a caxton newspaper I saw an ad for an expedition to Kilimanjaro, and I was slapped in the face by a dream that refused to be sucked into the black hole of lost dreams. I pledged there and then that I was going to do this no matter what. Just like that it was decided! On 10 September 2011 I left to find my sunrise and my dream.
Watch this space, my dream continues with a day by day account of each day as I lived it……..
Unschooling, or my preferred term, Natural Learning is a worldview that life itself is learning and children naturally seek to learn. A parent with a natural learning worldview seeks to provide children with an environment in which they are free to follow their curiosities and discover the world. In doing so children would develop the necessary life skills that they would need on their life journey.
Ellen Galinsky, the author of the book Mind in the Making identifies 7 essential life skills every child needs, namely
- Focus and Self Control
- Perspective Taking
- Making Connections
- Critical Thinking
- Taking on Challenges
- Self Directed, Engaged Learning
Over the next couple of weeks, I will be looking at each skill from an unschooling perspective. This will elaborate further and describe the principles of Natural Learning. It will also illustrate that life skills are a natural outcome of a natural learning environment.
Bye 4 now…..
Over the years I have learned many things from many people, but I recently realised that I learned the most important life lessons from my children. I have 3 children aged, 12, 10 and 3 and I have learned many things from them, but I would like to highlight just 5 of the most important ideas that I have learned.
- Learning happens all the time, no matter where you are or what you doing, learning happens all the time. You just need to be open to it.
- Enjoy the now, as adults we spend way too much time focusing on what has happened in the past and what we want to do in the future that we forget to appreciate and enjoy the now.
- Your relationships with people are most the important. You discover that children need your time and attention most of all rather than anything else.
- Adaptability, children can find joy in almost all situations even in little ways. So instead of whining we should just find the good stuff and enjoy it.
- Fearlessness, we should embrace the unknown with curiosity and enthusiasm rather then fear and trepidation.
These traits seem to be so simple and natural for children, which makes me wonder how and when do we as adults lose this ability? I have found that as an adult, it is very difficult to live these traits at least for me, but I try everyday nonetheless. I also try to ensure that my children dont lose them either.
Cheers 4 now