Friday, February 3, 2012

Resistant learner.

One of the challenges that I have in homeschooling Emily so far is her lack of interest to learn. I used to think it's a dyslexia issue. Now I figure it's probably not. She's probably a resistant learner. There's a very good article written on this issue. Read it here.

She has very little curiosity about anything. She's not independent yet. I can't ask her to self-study. It doesn't work.
If I don't guide her closely, she will be sleeping on the chair. Oblivious to her surrounding. Despite being surrounded by people doing experiments in the lab,  she's hardly curious or intrigued.

It could be the consequence of schooling. In school, learning = listen to lectures = tonnes of homework = repetitive drilling on the same topic = test = exams. Hence learning is boring. It is a chore. To some kids, after few years, this process has effectively kill whatever interest they have for learning. It's probably faster with kids with learning differences like Emily. But I have seen it in kids "deemed normal" like Luqman too.

We did some activities while learning about microorganism yesterday. I asked her to refer to the website and draw the common microorganisms. You would think she's having so much fun.
I asked her. She's not. Despite drawing being her favorite thing to do. She's doing it coz I asked her to. 

As much as I can remember (hahaha...this makes me sound so old), they were curious kids when they were small. I think all small kids are naturally curious. I can see it in Medina.
Curious and fearless Medina holding the mummified lizard.

Okay, maybe Little Missy is a bit geeky. She will ask me tonnes of questions out of the blue. Like when she just wake up. Or when she's playing with her LEGO.

"Is fly an omnivore or carnivore or herbivore??"
"What does polar bear eat?"
"Do they use dirty water or clean water?"
"How does mimosa plant protect itself??"
"How do lions cool themselves?"

Questions that I might need to google for answer. But at least the mind is curious. But it's a different case for the more grown up siblings. As years go by, the curiosity seems to die off. To be fair, they are still curious.
As long as it has nothing to do with school. Stuffs like animal always make the kiddos excited and curious.

But of course there are exceptions. There are kids who thrive in school. Like Ms Hajar. But knowing her character, I guess she probably thrive in a homeschooling environment too.
The one who currently aspires to be a wildlife biologist. 

I know some parents will just follow the flow and let the kids pursue their interest. Trying their best to nurture the kids while letting nature takes it course. Besides, not everybody want to be a doctor or engineer. And happy doing it. Many of us studied different thing in university and end up doing completely different thing in life. many of us are still stuck in a rut and hates our job. So what's wrong with the kids pursuing their interest? Maybe I should just let Luqman doodle, read manga and play guitar all day? And let Emily focus on baking and cooking??

To be honest, I just don't have the courage. I am still pretty conservative to the whole unschooling ideas. I cringe at the thought the kids might choose not to go to college. I still feel more comfortable (and safe) to expose my kids to as many areas of knowledge as possible. Push them to explore their maximum potentials.  And secretly praying they will go to college and get a degree. At least at this stage. Before they finally choose which path they want to follow later. You can decide to be a doodler or a baker. But at least have a degree to back u up. I know it doesn't really make sense. It sounds silly. Especially in the era of billionaires are people that don't even go to college. But it takes time to change my mentality.

So in the process of educating them, I need to manage the resistant learners. Need to make the best out of the system. Learn different ways of undoing this nasty side effect of schooling in kids.

As much as I can, I try to add context to what they are learning. For the schoolers and the homeschooler. To make more sense. And makes learning more interesting. To engage them and stretch the attention span, I try to integrate learning with their personal interest. For Emily, it's drawing,art & craft and cooking. And she's a kinesthetic learner who learn best by doing.
 Learning about different types of microorganism. The yeast reaction.
After 10 minutes. The yeast reaction got her excited. Probably most exciting experiment for her.
Making sense of the use of microorganism in cooking. Making doughnuts. She's more than happy to do it. Had a minor accident with the hot oil. Nevertheless, very proud of her accomplishment of making doughnut almost 100% by herself.

Cooking so far is still the best way to teach her almost anything. Maths, comprehension, organisational skills, science. She doesn't even realize she's learning.

And she's not a reader. She's still a very reluctant reader. When we went to MPH Clearance Sales few weeks ago, I asked her to choose any books she want to buy. And she bought this book.
And today, she was so delighted when I bought her this book.

On our way to Monash yesterday, she complained about sore throat. And we had the following conversation.

E; "What was it already ummi the bacteria that caused sore throat?"
Me; "I don't know. U tell me"
So she checked her drawing, and excitedly told me.
E; "Streptococcus Pneumoniae" (with a very proud smile)

YES. BINGO!!! I quietly said my prayer. It's probably working. I mean, how can u not get excited about science? Right? I think there is hope. Done the right way, I'm sure they will be a life long learner. Definitely.


  1. Wow, i am amazed at your kids being homeschool,
    I like the concept as I have been reading a lot on positivity homeschooling brings.
    Keep on writing as I am going to continue reading

  2. Thanks so much for linking over to the article on our blog! Looks like you're doing a fabulous job!

  3. Thanks to u Jenny for the great post ;-) It makes so much sense to me. I can get really overwhelmed with dyslexia sometimes. Your post clarify certain things that I have been owndering for quite sometime. Thanks and keep writing ;-)