August 24, 2018

Days and months

DD1, when in school, used to sing out songs on days and months. But, I have never probed her much or asked her to recite on purpose. For me, a child who has been reciting all day would recite, but is the meaning understood? No one knows better than the child herself.

Now, at home, she has tools to navigate through. With respect to days and months, she has some boards with names written and movable pointer. She spends time, little bit of time, may be lesser than the time taken to memorise the songs, to read the names written. She tries to make sense of what is written. She counts and numbers the days and months. She observes the sequence of days and months. She says what day it is even when she doesn't look at the board. She thinks of birthdays while analysing the sequence on months. She repeats all month names, moves a year ahead, tells her birth date, her age and repeat. She does more than just singing and repeating what the teacher has said.

All this, on her own, without any exercises on paper, without any questions from the teacher. 

She was provided with resources and time. Nothing beyond that. 

Time and the freedom to learn(be) would be the two most precious gifts that could be given to a child.

Play Puja

DD1 is fond of making shapes and structures with wet red mud or wet sand. 

She made ganesh, ganesh's brother, noodles, peda and some laddoos for ganesh. She has occupied the puja area with all her stuff.

Since that place was needed for something, I had to clean up and we created this play puja room for all her items.

She said she needed a bolt to close the doors and suggested some ways for it.

Everyday morning, both DD1 and DD2 pluck flowers and place at their play gods. 
She says both the ones she made and the picture gods are toy gods.

And, true that! real gods are within us. real gods are us!


#freeplay #children

Teaching to count or Learning to count?


How can a child intuitively do maths in her daily life without instructions? Read here.

DD1 counts. Everyday. Some items that she sees.

She has been adding single digit numbers in her mind.

Sometimes, when she seems to think long before coming up with an answer, I get tempted to show her a specific way to count. Yet, I refrain. I love watching her making her own way.

It is not a very uncommon method among school going children to count in the following manner: 3 plus 4 : take 3 in the  mind, count four with fingers, 4, 5, 6, 7, answer is 7.

I wanted to see how else a child could figure out ways to count. I waited. I watched.

One day, she was into adding. Adding single digit numbers was done in mind.

Then came double digit with single digit. I kept watching. Say, for, 12 plus 5, she counted 12 with fingers and then 5 with fingers and again counted the total by repeating counting of fingers appropriately.

She again saw a similar one, say 14 plus 5, this time she counted 14 with fingers and continued to count starting from 15 with 5 more fingers.

Next, another, say, 15 plus 4, she just counted 4 fingers starting with 16.

Next, another, say, 16 plus 4, she mentally counted 4 numbers starting from 17 and stopped at 20. No more using fingers too.

So, you see, children find their way.

They are provided with resources, they come across problems, they find ways to succeed.

All they need is time. Not a drill by doing additions repeatedly just so the child solves problems faster than the rest. Once their mind is set free, it is bound to be faster. We, adults, even those who have hated Maths, manage to add those, that we come cross in daily life with ease. The ability will definitely be there. It is the system which demands to get things done only in a specific manner that has managed to implant hatred for a subject within the child. And everyone starts to blame the child for not liking the subject or for being lazy to finish or for being slow. All these labels are just illusions. Reality is that the child is capable of DOing.

In doing what the system demands, the adult might be successful in teaching, but is the ground for learning set for the child?

Joy of open learning lies in the fact that the child can learn the way he wants to learn and not the way an adult asks to.

#ReThinkEducation
#learningwithoutSchool

August 17, 2018

Let the child be - 2

Here is the post that has the same title as this one also relevant as a pre-read.

Close-Up Portrait Of Cute Girl At Home : Stock Photo
Since early days, I had some beliefs about life and thoughts that I been pondering over ever since.

Some of them being:

1. We are all born with a purpose: To realise and to know our purpose is the first step that one can ever take towards achievement in life.

2. We are born free. As a child, we still remember the purpose of our birth. Gradually, our mind falls in the fears and threats of the environment and it succumbs to the external power, that is when we start to forget about ourselves, move far from ourselves and think of ways of navigating this complex environment filled with threats, fears and bullys. If one is still wise enough to stay close to the self, one gets lucky to still have the thought of 'knowing one's self' as one of his aim though not sure when and how it would happen.

3. A child who does exactly what an adult asks for, is either over-matured to know what was asked for, the reason behind it, do it and still stay away from the egoistic society OR the child has absolutely lost the power of thinking and deciding what he is here for and what he is being asked to do and JUST does it, for the sake of the adult involved in the situation. These could be very simple tasks to complex tasks. As simple as reading, writing to as complex as making decision to buy some item of personal use. In short, we tend to take our children farther from themselves when we try to succumb them to our fears, threats and bullys to get things done in daily life.

4. One can still invest in knowing about the self even without moving far from the society he lives in.

5. All pervasive god, universal energy, spiritual energy and the many terms that it has in the various sections of the seen and unseen world is all one and all within us. To KNOW this, REALISE this and ACT upon this are life's most important tasks. No, pleasing adults with so-called 'nice' behaviour is not something very important for a child. Obeying adults to finish the daily tasks is not something that is important.

6. Now that we came across the term 'obey', let us look at the dictionary meaning of 'obedience'

compliance with an order, request, or law or submission to another's authority.
"children were taught to show their parents obedience"
synonyms:complianceacquiescence, tractability, tractableness, amenability; More
  • observance of a monastic rule.
    "vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience"

Do we wish ourselves to be obedient and succumb to the instructions of another's authority? OR
Do we wish to ponder, think and decide all by ourselves, may be, with a partner's guidance about things that affect us and immediate circle around us?

Do we wish our child to be obedient, lost his thinking skill completely and just keep saying 'yes' to an authoritative voice without even knowing what, why, how, when of that is being asked?

OR

Do we wish to raise empowered children who can think, decide and act on their own, to the best of their knowledge, their experience and in the best interest of themselves and the immediate circle around them?

So, the terms 'obedience', 'child obeying an adult' are to be revisited by every parent individually.
And, no, being obedient is not one of the needed trait for a child.


7. No matter what happens in life, never move far from yourself, your intuition, your subconscious whatever you call it. Know who you are and act accordingly. I have been intuitive even in my parenting journey, allowing the child to make decisions. (More details in another post)

8. Then I began pondering and reading about life after death, life before birth, birth and death and how they are perceived in various sections of the society. Starting from my pregnancy, I have started thinking and realising about how a child actually remembers her soul's journey and purpose of present life and how best to not disturb her intuition.

9. As rightly said, all the dots can be connected. Nothing in life happens by chance, everything happens by choice. All my thoughts started moving close to each other, connecting and giving me an action plan based on it. I began to come across more resources that explain about autonomy, intuition, knowing one's self. Some of them, I paste here:

There is a lot more rotten about society than just education and we need to raise our children to question everything that is rotten about society, and they can only do that when they are supremely in connect with their inner selves. This is going to back to Hobbes’ State of Nature, and starting over from first principles. Allowing children to be at their own will and follow their desires also felt like an Epicurean way of living. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_nature

10. We could be non-judgmental and still resolve conflicts instead of being judgmental and labeling people, more happens for children. What is the reason to be judgmental on any person if not for all the fancy terms that a language holds and that the adult thinks he has a right to use them over little ones? Good, bad, beautiful, dirty, messy, clean, sweet, arrogant, timid, fearing, ferocious,  over-powered, lazy, naughty, harsh, unmanageable and many more. Would an adult accept if the labels were thrown at him? Why do we treat children and adults differently?

11. So, what do we do to let the child still be close to his intuition and know more about the self?
Allow the child to be free.
Allow the child to make a decision.
Allow the child to just be without imposing rules.
Do not disturb the child's relation with his self by using labels, fear, threat, bully.
Child are curious thinkers until this authority dawns upon them to submit their inner nature.

This 'allow' that is mentioned in the above statements is not SOMETHING that we need to do as a favour for our child. A child acts according to his intuition if we back out with our rules, fears, threats, labels and just be with the child at the moment. May be, a little bit of facilitation is required at times.  All that is needed is JUST BE in the moment. Nothing more, nothing less.

a boy in the bedroom : Stock Photo

Experience the joy of living and let the child experience the joy of living. A child already knows how to enjoy living and is already doing it unless there is an intervention by an authority to not be so and be only in a specific way.

Can we be a little kinder to the little ones, please? 

August 10, 2018

Learning and the myths around it

There are spiritual gurus who say, vedas are not to be learnt by rote. They are to be heard and recited. It is how it has been passed on from one to another.

If you look at how a child learns, a child who is not yet put in a system, a child who is still free to learn on her own, a child who is still free to be her own, you realise that it is exactly the same way as told by the guru. So how does it happen? It happens by nature. It is instinctive.
Learning does not come by force.
Learning should be intuitive.

A child who has been (free)playing with numbers would some day intuitively understand that the sequence of numbers actually are so that next number comes with an increment of 1.

A child who has been (free) playing with mattrices of numbers would intuitively understand the concept of n times m

A child who has been playing with water will intuitively understand the concept of float/sink and many more.

And all this would not take much time if the child was really not bound by a system and instructions. We are so much used to following a system that we are baffled to even know that a child can actually learn reading on her own, not by rote, not by showing site words, not by memorising groups of words. And, we would start making statements like not all children are the same. Some need rigid instructions. Etc etc. Sorry, I'm not with it.
Every child is a genius. Every child is capable. Every child is capable of doing whatever the environment is asking them to. But whether the genius is nurtured or not depends on how much the environment around a child is in line with nature or her intuition. Children work by their intuition. The more you get close to their intuition will you see their intention behind the action. What do we want for the child becomes an important question to be asked for the parent.

DD1 has been away from a rigid curriculum for some time now. She is on her own. She chooses how she spends her time. She reads the words that she can, she makes an attempt at reading any words that she comes across. This, on her own, I do not usually ask her to read it out in an intention to test her or something.

I read a book by her side, she grasps the sounds of letters and meanings of words. If she cannot get the meaning right away, she asks me. If she notices that two words sound same but used in different contexts, she points it out so I tell her the spelling of the words(like chute and shoot).

She likes solving mazes and finding differences between pictures. So much that she creates mazes and draws two real life pictures for me to find difference (our home and neighbour's home with precise differences that even I never noticed).

She observes a lot. She analyses all of her observations.

She questions a lot. Though the questions are not answered right away, she knows she can look for answers or find out the answer.

She talks to older people, walks our neighbours dog, plays with children her age or older age with ease.

She does lot of imaginary play, which an adult could find silly, but she talks logic even in her plays.

We take public transport to local places. She sits/stands considering everyone's needs in the transport. She observes people, various kinds of people, various ages of people, what's happening on road, buildings that she notices, asks questions, identifies the road the next time we are on it. Public transport also involves a bit of walking so she is actually seeing the beautiful world around and not from within four walls of a vehicle.

She spends most of her play outdoors. So she gets the good sunshine that most of us adults and children miss out in our routine busy schedules.

She plays in rain, she plays with mud, she plays with sand, she creates play objects out of wet red mud. Red mud is proven to be healthy for the skin(it has the needed microbes).

She has been watching video of a girl doing classical dance so much that we got bored. But, one day, she did the exact same steps as seen in the video and still does it with ease.

She listens to me singing and sings beautifully in exactly the same tune (not by listening to the sound of a teachers cane, yes, I have seen music teachers doing this) so much that she is asked if someone taught her the tune. No, she learns, just by nature. I can recall incidents where I casually hummed tune of 3rd line of a bhajan and she sang out the line(at 3 years).

Children are keen observers.
Children are deep thinkers.
Children and diligent doers.
If only, there was no external force, judgement, labelling, comparison, force disciplining, punishing, threatening, bullying, bargaining and the many instructions on them.

She listens to me reading and learns the various sounds. I didn't have to show her flash cards with various combinations like ch, sh to make her remember their sound. She heard me read out many ch words, sh words and understood the sounds of ch and sh and not by flash cards.

She writes mails, letters, stories, lines whatever she wishes to write. She asks me for the spelling and she pronounces as she writes not upon my instruction, but by her very nature.

She keeps pondering over the number system. She keys in some big number in the calculator app and tries to know what it is. She, once heard,  the term million and learnt about all number names. She can write thousand or ten thousand and numbers of the like.

She draws various things, many designs, some stories and even mandalas.

She does various pretend plays.

She grasps by all her five senses and learns.

All that I have written about DD1 are not actually results or outcome of her learning. The true learnings of not being bound by a system are things like:
Being on one's own.
The acomplishment that child gets upon winning her own war (be it any learning or playing a game or laying out a bedsheet on floor without folds)
Learning by nature.
All the things that go by complex terms like self confidence, self esteem, bold etc that the various coaching classes claim to impart the primary and middle school children.
If you look at  young child, she already has all the confidence needed to accomplish her task.
Knowing ones interests.
Realising ones self.
Knowing ones emotional needs.
Learning about self - physical, emotional, social and spiritual.
And many more that cannot be expressed by the five senses.

Life is not only about learning, reciting alphabets, numbers, rhymes, getting sticky stars, doing what the adult says, getting good grades, pleasing the teacher, pleasing the parents.

Life is much beyond what we see in the physical plane.
Life is about discovering ones own self.
Life is about living and not rushing.

Why do we bind a child to a system and a set of instructions?

Why don't we let the child be, just be, and grow just as nature has intended to.

#learningwithoutschool
#openlearning
#joyoflearning

Recommended to read

One Love

Little one slowly drifting to sleep
As I move my hand
To gently lay her on bed,
My palm is grasped by two little palms
Daughter might have thought
Mumma should hold me for a while
Daughter might have felt happy
Holding on to me.
But, more than that,
The mumma got her mummas love through this little one
The mumma was assured that there are little humans who love holding her hand
The mumma was emotionally touched, may be, more than the little one

Let there be love.
Let there be one love.
Let love flourish.
Let love be experienced in every, many and various actions in life.



August 08, 2018

Curious, thinkers and doers by nature

Who had asked this 1.5 yo to balance those tiny objects? No one
Children are doers
Children are thinkers
Not by force but by their innate nature
This process of thinking and doing is actually hindered if there is force in any kind by the adult around.
Why don't we let children figure out things?
Why do we like to instruct more and more and feel happy that the child has done just as how it was asked to be done? Who is happy? Who is successful? What is real happiness and real success that is achieved in instruction based activities and plays?
DD2 balances objects, balances herself on objects, stacks up bangles, fits in a chain(jewellery) such that it sits neatly inside a bangle on the floor. She is moving the chain this way that way and gently brings it down to see it curling up within the bangle. She feels accomplished. She places items within a sheet and folds the sheet. Is it not an achievement for a child to even lay out a hand kerchief neatly without any folds on the floor? Let the child win his own war and not the one that is imposed by an adult.!!
Whose feelings are important? Isn't the child's?
Let the child be. Let the child play. Keep alive the curiosity within every child.

Drawing mandala

This is my DD 4.5 yo's version of a mandala...She drew and coloured more than what is pictured.

August 05, 2018

Imagine Play - Vegetable Market

A room that goes by the name 'puja room' serves as a play room. In fact, for DD1, every item lying around is an item to play with..She creates umpteen varieties of plays/games with objects that lie in her sight.
Here, in the pics, is her vegetable market by one side, pretend gods, pretend laddoos by another side.
The vegetables remain there until there's any harm, what's wrong with a messy place that serves as a creativity platform for a child? Nothing, ain't it ? 😊

August 02, 2018

Sprinkles manufacturing plant

DD1 has watched a video on how sprinkles are made and all her play revolves around imagining such similar stuff.
In this one, she drew something that she calls as sprinkles plant and she prepares sprinkles of whatever colour that is asked for.
Just look at the various kinds of sounds she makes while imagine pouring the batter, pressing buttons and different types of buttons.










Pretend Phones - Various Versions

I had made many pretend phones when DD1 was younger. Using various papers, cardboards, hard paper. And now, DD1 herself makes ...