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Homeschooling: Individual Interests, or the Pursuit of Happiness

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Pursuing interests can help her learn how to learn.

Pursuing interests can help her learn how to learn.

As a child, did you ever have to give up a practice that meant a lot to you? Maybe it was drum playing, or cave exploring, or baking sinfully rich desserts. Have you ever wondered what life may have been like had you continued this practice? Fuller, more meaningful, perhaps? Sorry. Like many of us, you may never know.
Your child doesn’t ever have to wonder. She has time to explore interests to her heart’s content. If those interests lead her to fulfillment and meaning, thank goodness nothing else forces her to turn her back on them. And there’s no reason those deep, abiding interests can’t become the centerpiece of her education.
Said another way, pursuing those interests can help her learn how to learn. Every interest carries a rich history, every interest incorporates a body of knowledge necessary to its practice. Many interests lead to other interests. Furthermore, asking our children to know something about everything in this Information Age is, as today’s schoolmen admit, impossible.
You can subject your child to school’s shot-gun approach to information (lots of rapidly-fired, scattered tidbits, chosen by bureaucrats in political ivory towers). Or, by learning at home, your child can employ an archer’s approach: One arrow, purposefully chosen by the archer, and well aimed at a meaningful target. He opens wide the door to self-initiated learning based on individual interest. Your child dodges stress and failure and hits meaning and success. Best of all, he acquires another universal life skill. He learns how to learn, and applies this skill in myriad situations throughout his joyful learning journey.
~~ From The Art of Education: Reclaiming Your Family, Community and Self, Linda Dobson, 1995

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