Do you ever follow rabbit trails, going from one thing to other until your head is spinning with new knowledge?
My head is constantly spinning. I guess my girls’ heads are too. You see, I don’t keep my discoveries to myself.
I’m always saying things like:
“Hey, girls, listen to this…”
“Did you know…?”
“Can I tell you about…?”
“Would you like me to read…?”
“What do you think about this?”
“Want to watch this video with me?”
“Wow, you won’t believe what I just found out!”
“This is so interesting!”
And usually, hearing the excitement in my voice, my girls look up from whatever they’re doing. They want to know more too.
I’m interested in everything. So are my children. I’m glad they are because the world is a fascinating place and I love exploring it with them. It also makes fulfilling homeschool registration requirements very easy. At the end of each day, I always have lots of notes, covering a wide range of topics, to add to my Evernote records book.
I wonder: Why am I interested in everything? Why are my children? Is it something to do with our personalities? Or is everyone interested in everything? Or do we all start out being curious people and then some of us change along the way?
Little children want to know about everything. They’re full of questions. Sometimes they have so many questions we can’t keep up. How do we answer them all? Or maybe we don’t. Could we sometimes give kids the impression that we have more important things to do than satisfy their curiosity? Do they learn that asking questions isn’t a good thing to do?
I wonder: Can curiosity be regained? Can we pass on a curious attitude to our kids?
Perhaps we all need to slow down and look more carefully at the world around us. I bet we miss loads of opportunities to ask questions and ponder possible answers.
But what type of questions?
The other day I saw a sign stating that our local area is now a coal mining-free place. It was a new sign erected by our council. Why did it suddenly appear? What exactly does it mean? Surely we have a coal mine close by? I did some googling. Soon I was investigating legal, environmental, health, indigenous, foreign investment, local employment, and other issues. I looked at maps. I watched videos. I read about protests. I looked at photos. I even listened to some indigenous music. And I shared most of what I discovered with my daughters.
Head buzzing, I made dozens of notes in my records book, not only for registration purposes but also for us. My notebooks are bursting with information we want to remember.
The same thing happened when we were out on a picnic some months ago. I’d brought along a packet of muesli bars. As we sat at our table in the nature reserve, munching away, we examined the muesli bar wrappers. “What’s lupin, Mum? It’s one of the ingredients.”
Was lupin a health condition or a rabbit? Or something else? I didn’t know. We decided it must be associated with allergies because there was a warning on the wrapper. When we got home we did some googling and discovered lupin is a pulse. We found out a lot of other things too. I talked about this picnic and the following rabbit trail in one of my podcasts, episode 58: Responding to Unschooling and Other Critics.
I’m always asking questions and searching for answers. So are my girls. We investigate how things work. We make connections. We ponder solutions to problems. We look at our remarkable world with a sense of awe.
And we don’t have to worry about covering the required topics and finding things to put in our homeschool records books.
I’m thinking about the word ‘curious’. Depending on how we use it, it could mean:
marked by a desire to investigate and learn
Or it might mean:
exciting attention as strange, novel, or unexpected
So do curious unschoolers have a desire to investigate? Or are they strange, odd or eccentric people who excite attention? Or could both be true?
Are you strange? Are you interested in everything? Yes? Then you must be a curious unschooler like me!
Images: A disused railway track runs through our village. Alongside the track is a pile of corrugated iron. It looks like it used to belong to a building. I’m curious. Could it be the old railway station? I wonder if there is a way to find out.
This post is linked to the Hip Homeschool Hop.