Monday, 5 September 2011

Why I 'Unschool" Tiger early?

I must make myself clear here. This adventure in early learning is a personal choice and I love thinking, planning and  brainstorming about Tiger's next lesson. I adore his look when he is thinking. I don't mind losing sleeping to prepare his material.  I stalk people's blogs and devour parenting books. This, is what I think you call CRAZY but i call PASSION. I hope Tiger is enjoying himself too. My maternal instinct says YES, HE IS.

My aim at the end of this early learning journey:
I have thought about this long and hard. I finally decided that if I can raise a child who is imaginative, confident, independent and kind, I have succeeded. Also, if he gets through school without tuition, I must have done well. (Honestly, why is tuition mandatory nowadays?). If my child is very intelligent but only excel in academics, then I have failed.

My parenting style:
I want a child who can stand up to me and challenge my authority as a parent. Not in a rude manner but within socially acceptable boundaries. I hope I raise a child who will make me a better person as well. Children don't come with guidelines and parents can't be right all the time. We are all learning. Who the heck wants a totally obedient child who obeys every instruction to the dot and not able to think out of the box? We have robots to do that. I think the key here is MUTUAL RESPECT. I may be wrong but we'll see.

Why the need to unschool now? He's just a baby...
Let me try to do this without jargon. The first three years are the crucial years. Why?

In short: The brain's basic unit is called neuron. You have 10 billion. They are connected by electrical impulses

Newborn baby: 1 neuron has 2500 connections each
By 3 years old: 1 neuron has 15,000 connections each

This rapid increase of connections happens by constant environmental stimulation. So please don't leave your baby in the cot and do nothing. With just play and love, your are stimulating the child to learn. This is where I agree with right brain education. Your child do not need to understand or think logically to absorb new material. His brain is developing at an astounding rate that you cannot imagine. In other words, this is the smartest he will ever be.

With purposeful early learning, I am not adding neurons. You cannot do that. By 'unschooling' Tiger with all sorts of games and play, I am building extra connections and reinforcing them. Making them stronger and denser. In my opinion, this is why I think Montessori method works so well. It is challenging to practice life skills and fascinating to learn language and mathematics the Montessori way. 

If the connections are always used, the brain will keep them. If they are not used, they will be removed.

This is neuroplasticity. The ability of the brain to mould and adapt and it is at its peak up till 3 years old. Then, the pruning begins and you begin to lose those precious connections.

If you are still reading by this point, you must be interested :)

Join us and learn together!

Read this article if you are interested to learn more about neuroplasticity.

I'll be updating this post whenever I learn more from Tiger :)
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