We are all born with the gift of learning, which is instinctive and intuitive. A simple action of a baby sucking their thumb in utero is proof of the natural learning process. It does not happen by accident either, as research has discovered that baby in utero is anticipating the thumb entering his mouth so he opens his mouth before he can actually stick his thumb in it. Every moment a baby is in utero time is taken up by growing, developing, learning, and changing. There are numerous things a baby learns in utero, deciding which sounds, smells, and tastes they like without much influence of the outside world. This is naturally continued after you are born until the outside world tells you differently.
I played classical music for both my kids when I was pregnant with them, but it did not make them necessarily love classical music later on in life after they were born. This shows that we are all born with this individuality and of being different and when not tampered with we can decide for ourselves, our likes and dislikes and what is best for us as an individual.
I am always amused as how parents tend to take credit for teaching their kids to walk and talk. No one teaches us these fundamental developments through different stages of our life. Like in Utero they learn at their own pace. What babies do, though, is mimic their surroundings and learn through their six senses with their sixth sense being instinct/intuition.
Humans have a natural curiosity to learn so we develop physiologically, psychologically and intellectually. Learning is a natural side effect of all human activity and is self-initiated and self-motivated. We learn in different ways and develop differently from our peers and at different rates in all areas of our life. So why are we put in a box and forced to learn the same way as everyone else?
Another astounding humorous human condition is, we spend the first two years of our child’s life encouraging/waiting for them to walk and talk and the next 16 years of their life confined to a box where you have to shut up! Sit still! And Listen!
Take a few moments to digest this…….
As parents we love unconditionally, trust and make sure our kid’s basic needs are met. We create a safe environment for them and mostly keep them protected from harm’s way.
What happened to these essentials, unconditional love, trust, basic needs, and security?
Unconditional love is something we stop having when we start having expectations of our children and base their lives on a reward system for ‘Good Behaviour’. Yes, I know, you probably going to lash at me for undermining your love for your child, but I challenge you to think deeply about this, about what unconditional love actually means?
What happened to those first few years where we trusted our kids to learn and grow at their own pace? What happened to TRUSTING our kids? Trust stops happening when we start telling them what to do!
Basic needs go beyond just shelter, clothing and food. We have taken away their basic need to just play. We have taken their basic need to explore and have confined them to 45min break for the entire day.
Then we have taken their sense of security away by leaving them with some stranger they do not even know, for most of their waking time very early stages of their life. BTW – This stranger we trust, but goodness forbid if we trust our own kids!
I want you to take a look at these two photos. One is childhood in a modern day school gathering of kids and the other is childhood and child labour in the industrial revolution.
If you see a difference in these two photos then I challenge you to stretch your mind and explore the idea of the similarities of these photos. I can see the difference in their physical attire, but I see no difference from a psychological and soulful (mental) point of view. Children where slaves to the system then, and are still slaves to the system now!!!
Everything else around us has evolved
Telephones have evolved to cellphones and our mode of transport from the horse and cart has evolved too, possibly be introduced into the market in the near future, the Uber self-driving cars.
So why have we not evolved from schools to learning centres that have all the resources for our kids to self-direct their learning and spend more time free playing? Why haven’t we evolved from teachers to facilitators? Why is our schools been run by adults and not adults and the children? Why is democracy not displayed with our kids? Are they not the future of our world? So let me get this, we want a democratic world but will not exercise this democracy with our own kids? Charity begins at home or should I say democracy begins at home!
Let us hop onto those hobbies we/kids have, (DO NOT let go of them). Hobbies are 100% interest driven and generally it takes a back seat because there are more ‘important’ things, dictated to you, that need to be done, before we can actually sit down to do something we truly enjoy. If you are enjoying something, does it mean you are not learning? Sadly, it is the disease of our society to make you feel guilty about enjoyment.
The good news is we have started revolutionising the way we interact with young people. There are growing numbers of families who have recognised and adopted the life learning philosophy. Many more are considering this way of life. Not only is it practical, it eliminates the consumerism of education and exposes the debt trap you are handed over once you have graduated. These parents are identifying that children have an innate curiosity and intuition to learn without the boundaries implicated on them in traditional school systems. It is also recognised that standardising a child is ludicrous, as no individuals are the same. So sitting in a classroom learning the exact same thing as your peers, who are the exact same ages as you, to produce the exact same results is definitely absurd. Life Learning appreciates that you learn differently from your peers.
So what is Life Learning?
Life learning is an educational method and philosophy that advocates learner-chosen activities as a primary means for learning. In other words, trust your child!
Commonly known as…
Unschooling, Free Range Learning and other tags.
Life Learning has been a personal journey for my family and me.
We had our minds expanded to levels that we did not even think was possible. We eventually unwound the fear and slowly peeled away the layers of indoctrination and beliefs of we need someone to teach us in order for us to learn. We started enjoying the wonderment of life curing the disease of we are not learning if we are enjoying something. We got to experience the true meaning of living in the NOW! We take a topic that interest us and are able to delve into the depths of it and dissect it to our hearts content until we feel we have absorbed everything about that topic, without having to worry to waste a minute on anything else.
The depth of conversations I have with my own kids, I have never in my entire life have had with any adult, up to date! I rejoice in the uniqueness in each of them and love watching them being who they truly are. By the way, deep and profound conversations about life and all that is, is a natural almost daily or weekly occurrence in my home.
What happens when we bring our kids up with trust and unconditional love?
- They get to be WHO YOU REALLY ARE.
- They will become independent individuals who know what is best for them.
- They will become Masters of their own Mind, Body and Soul/Heart
- They will create their OWN boundaries and likewise push their OWN boundaries
- They will carry this Life Learning Thinking throughout their life as they will know learning is a by-product of ANY activity.
- They will begin to discover their own personal potential.
- They become passionately involved in what interests them.
- They will expand their mind to understand that a graduation is not a destination
- They will experience joy and happiness more, as they will be doing more of what they enjoy opposed to being forced to do what they don’t enjoy.
The beauty of Life Learning is, it can be adopted at any age from in utero till end of your life’s journey.
We live in the digital age of Information with the World Wide Web at our fingertips so it does not make sense for schools anymore. There are many Massive Open Online Courses and a Tuition-Free University, where you can learn just about anything for free.
Alison.com, EDx, Coursera, Youtube, khan academy, Free Code Camp, University of the People, to name a few of these online resources.
Swaraj University in India is a Life Learning University. Their students design their own learning for two years and are helped to be placed in the practical work place to learn and build their own portfolio.
Schools in Finland have done away with homework and exams till kids are well into their teens. Sudbury, Waldorf and Steve Jobs Schools are alternative systems that allow for child-directed activities.
Big Organizations, such as Google and EY, are beginning to change the way they view education. They have started to employ interest driven people rather than someone that has just finished their degree.
This article is just the broader aspect of what Life Learning is. I will be tackling more detailed experiences and topics in future blogpost.