The Evolution of a Lesson

I have read so many unschooling books and personal stories at this point that I am 99% comfortable with the idea of letting learning happen as it may as it will.  Hubby on the other hand has mostly been hanging out at a 75% comfort level with certain other relatives weighing in around 10%.  How can they learn, they wonder, if you don’t use curriculum, if you don’t construct lessons, if you don’t MAKE it happen? 

Enter Sister stage left:  “Mom, can you teach me how to play this on the piano…. ” (sings a ditty from Little Einstein’s). 

I don’t know the tune but between Sister and myself and this handy, dandy music notation software from Finale we come up with a reasonable proximity.  We pick it out on the piano.  I explain as best I know how about finger placement and the names of the notes and by the end of the day she can play the piece flawlessly… from memory.

Days pass and the sound of “Firebird Rescue” wafts through the house as often as Sister happens to walk by the piano.  One day the music stops ~ Ah, blessed silence.

Sister’s greets me the following morning with “Mom, can you teach me how to play this on the piano…. ” (sings a second ditty from Little Einstein’s).”  This time, I print out “Ode to Joy“, don my earmuffs, and the cycle begins again.

Now, about four weeks later, the interest is as strong as ever.  We found a wonderful site that provides free sheet music categorized by difficulty and somewhat in lesson form.  Even so, I don’t try to teach it to her.  I interpret as necessary but mostly she prefers to be left to her own devices.  We printed out all the songs from the “beginners” section and put them in a binder on the piano.  She can play about half of them now and is sporadically working her way through the rest.

I suspect that one day I’ll come to her, “Sister, can you teach me how to play….?”

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2 thoughts on “The Evolution of a Lesson

  1. Yup. My oldest did the same thing. She has moved on to other interests (she is a build it type of person) but occasionally picks a song she wants to learn and starts practicing till she gets it. We have Piano lesson books here that she can work through if she wants, and occasionally she does.

    The best thing I know–for the relatives (we don’t even tell ours) is keep a record of all the stuff they are doing and learning for when they ask. My mom doesn’t have a clue that we unschool–my mother-in-la only knows because she reads my blog and she LOVES reading the records of all the stuff they are doing and learning.

  2. I have to give you a lot of credit for doing the unschooling thing. I’m not sure how well I’d do with it, given my personality type. I actually had to make myself walk away from Julia when she was filling out her Valentine Cards. I kept scolding her for not “giving it her best.” And it was supposed to be for fun!!!

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