To govern our children’s home education not by what we thought they should be studying, but by what they were most interested in, turned out to be a wise choice. Along the way, they absorbed enough of the basics to reassure us.
One year, they were consumed with microbiology and the fascinating creatures they were seeing under the microscope. They observed for hours each day, and argued between times about what to call their various discoveries. Consulting library books and other sources, they tried to figure out how to sort and classify microbes by shape, size, and mode of locomotion. My husband and I could barely get a word in edgewise.
After several months of this, I said to him, “Don’t you think they should be having more structured class time with us?”
“Just look what they’re doing,” he replied. “They’re tackling problems of basic taxonomy. If we tried to help, we’d only get in the way.”
Sure enough, their learning was fired by their curiosity and the fascinating information they were grappling with. I’m just glad I didn’t insist on a lot of cello practice that year, because if I had, their attention would have been divided. Instead, they were happy and well occupied, and when we did have cello lessons, things went well because their primary interests of that year were satisfied.