This freestyle schooling trend is great and lovely in philosophy, but in reality, an idealistic waste of a child’s time and intelligence. Right? You can’t have a nine year old swanning about, dreamily playing with random pretty bits and pieces when she should be learning her times tables.
Where’s the value in her playing with bits of shells and pods, and simple wooden toys? What could she possibly learn from that?
For one thing, neither the activities or the outcomes my daughter chooses are anyone’s choices but her own. For another thing, she doesn’t spend all of her time dreamily playing. Sometimes she chooses activities that look more ‘acceptably’ like ‘learning’.
So when she’s not looking bookish, or sporty, or technological, or artsy… what could she possibly gain from this quiet play?
Her heart. Mainly that. She needs that.
Why shouldn’t a child follow her instincts?
Why shouldn’t she fill her heart with pretty pods and bits of nature if that’s what her natural instincts tell her to do? Why shouldn’t she create a collage “like Henri” (Matisse), at whim? I can’t imagine her being engaged enough to learn through any activity she was forced to do, when she has her own instincts to follow. Adults in the western world spend mega dollars trying to clear distractions enough to hear their inner voice. Why on earth would I take a child’s inner voice away from her? She needs it.
In school, she was labelled a dreamer.
Good. Dreams are the stuff satisfied lives are made of.
My daughter is a doer as well as a dreamer. The teachers never knew this. In school, she wasn’t allowed to do her dreams. She wasn’t given time or freedom to play them out. They weren’t on the scheduled curriculum. Everything had to have an outcome.
In school, she was told to stop dreaming.
It is far more important for a child to keep dreaming, and to keep playing out her dreams. Living them.
Dreams become realities, unless they’re squashed. Unless a child learns not to hear her own instincts and follow her heart.
Her plane shaped play heart may have shells and sandalwood instead of chambers. Her play heart may be made of wood and whimsy, while her real heart has a particular physiological function that allows her blood to circulate through her body. Her wooden heart needs oil to stay in shape. Her real heart needs many more nutrients than those found in oil, and many more factors contribute to its health.
My daughter understands this about her heart.
She also knows what’s in it, and she knows why her own heart beats.