Sunday, January 01, 2006

Another Reminder Why We Don't Unschool

We found unschooling exacerbates the perception so common to gifted children that the adults around them are withholding information from them. That was certainly the perception I, my husband, and most of the gifted people we know had of the adults around us when we were growing up. When we tried unschooling, I was shocked to see that become the perception Brighteyes had of me. Even though I wasn't withholding information from her, it appeared to her mind that that was what I'm doing whenever she would ask me for a short, simple answer to a complicated problem. Sometimes I could find such answers, but sometimes I couldn't.

All evening Brighteyes has been pestering me, with increasing volume, to teach her how to really, really fly on a broomstick. My protestations that I don't know how have fallen on deaf ears. I've tried to direct her to books on visualization. No luck. I've tried to do a visualization with her. No luck. I've tried to direct her to information on aerodynamics. No luck. I've offered her metaphoric advice such as "angels can fly because they take themselves lightly." No luck at all.

It was like this when we tried to unschool. She wouldn't just want to do any one thing. She would want to do one of the most difficult things known to man RIGHT NOW! Without bothering to cover any of the basic material of course.

After numerous temper tantrums we both came to the mutual understanding that it really would be best if I taught her everything I knew, starting at the very beginning and working our way up to the more complicated stuff after she has mastered the basics. That way, when she does want to know how some incredibly complex procedure works at the drop of a hat, she will already have both a base to start from and the comfort of knowing that even if she can't fully understand it RIGHT NOW we'll get to it in due time, when she has a more thorough grounding in the related subjects.

The number of temper tantrums fell to a quarter of what they had been after we reached that understanding, and her confidence has increased with her knowledge base. This is the first incident of this type we've had in ages.

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