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.