I recently read an article titled, Playing with Legos is More Valuable than Learning Algebra by Isaac M. Morehouse who was homeschooled (Unschooled) as a child. I have to say, I totally agree with him. Lego, like Minecraft, Youtube and Computer Games is supposed to be one of those things parents hate, but I love them. It’s not just the joy these things bring to my children, but also I am always surprised by how much they learn from them too. Our children have become the ultimate independent learners.
Of course, they still seek me or their dad out if they need help, but mostly they like to be left alone to get on with it. We’ll do the occasional day trip to a museum if there’s something on which interests us, but trips to Lego Land, Longleat Safari Park and walks in the woods are considered just as valuable learning experiences. As “Unschoolers” we don’t follow a curriculum so every day when they wake up our children get to do whatever they like, which is mostly play. Being fourteen and eight years old, their play takes different forms, but it is still free.
More and more evidence is coming out about the learning value of Lego, Minecraft, and Computer Games. Children using these mediums get to develop skills such as cooperation, design, and engineering, creativity, research and problem solving all without the help of a teacher standing in front of them. Children don’t need to be fed what someone else believes they should learn, they just need to be given the environment, tools, and trust to learn about what interests them. Schools are way behind what is happening in the real world. They are only just starting to teach coding when it has been predicted that computers will soon be coding themselves…Ooops, another waste of time then.
Let children follow their own interests, that way they will become life long learners, interested in the world around them and being able to adapt to whatever the future brings. That is why I am not going to hold my children back when it comes to using the tools this world has to offer them. Yes, I believe as parents, we must guide children sometimes. My son would sit on his iPad all day if we didn’t suggest a “Break” and then he loves coming out for a dog walk with me…usually, running around pretending to hide from Enderman (If you don’t know what they are, ask any child above three years old and I bet they will tell you!).