If my children are playing, what do I do?

We have a role to play in our children’s lives and as we move away from schooling and school like education then we can sometimes be left wondering what our role is. We are no longer required to usher them to school and make sure that they complete their reading journals and home work projects or sign forms and create costumes for dress up days or remember school trips and P.E kit and non uniform days. As our lives become devoid of school obligations and we continue to move away from implementing curriculums and timetables and hyper-scheduling in our lives, it is possible to wonder, what should we be doing instead?

Children tend to settle in to the rhythm of unschooling more easily than parents. They tend to ease into a new way of life and with seemingly less hurdles to jump. They begin to find things to do and ways to fill their days or at least begin trying things out or picking things up and giving them a try. And all the while, adults are left wondering, what should we be doing?

Here are some ideas:

  • Children are natural explorers of their environment so make their environment a place worth exploring. Bring interesting items into your home, postcards, trinkets, people for your children to have access to. There are more ideas in this post on home made deep learning.
  • Utilise your local area and offer trips to the local library, museum, art gallery, woodlands, seaside etc. If your not sure what those places have to offer than do some research or collect tourist leaflets to look at together.
  • Be willing to follow the path of their natural curiosity, do not be dissuaded by activities that do not look like academia, support their interests by giving them space and time and resources to explore and play until it reaches its natural conclusion whether that’s minutes or hours or days.
  • Be prepared to say yes more to our children’s requests, suggestions and ideas. Saying ‘yes’ strengthens or relationships and makes us allies in our children’s lives. It lets our children know that we trust that they know what they need right now and by encouraging them we actively support their learning journey. If it is within your ability to do so then say ‘yes.’ Conversely, if we are arbitrarily trying to stop them or redirect them or coerce them towards what we think is important then we devalue their ability to trust themselves and we become an adversary not a partner.

Our role as adults is to value our children’s individual learning journeys, to begin to respect our children as learners and recognise that their unique learning belongs to them. We need to continue to do the work of deschooling and move away from schooled thinking and move purposefully towards an unschooling life.

Read more

Play is…

What if my children play all day?

Published by heiditsteel

Teacher turned Unschooler: passionate about autonomous education and supporting our children's natural inclination towards learning through play.

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