By Jan Hunt, member of API’s Advisory Board and API’s Editorial Review Board. Reprinted with permission from www.naturalchild.org
My son Jason, now a young adult, has been unschooled from the beginning – we were fortunate to have discovered John Holt’s books when Jason was two, and never looked back.
Jason was a very inquisitive child, who loved learning new words and playing with numbers. He had an extensive vocabulary by 18 months, understood the concept of infinity at two years old, and taught himself squares and square roots at three. In spite of all this, I still wondered if I should use a curriculum, especially for math. It was hard not to worry when taking a path that was so different from the one I had taken in childhood. It was also hard not to be affected by my parents’ doubts, even though I understood the reasons for their skepticism.
When Jason was seven years old, he asked for a math book as his special holiday gift that year. We had recently read John Holt’s glowing review of Harold Jacobs’ book, Mathematics: A Human Endeavor, in Growing Without Schooling. The book proved to be as wonderful as John Holt had said, and we enjoyed it a lot. But a few months later, I noticed that Jason hadn’t looked at it for a while. I decided to suggest reading a chapter per week together. Fortunately, I was busy that day and didn’t get around to asking him. That evening, Jason came up to me, book in hand, saying, “Let’s play math.” My first thought was, “Whew, that was a close one.” Had I made my offer, he probably would have accepted it, and even learned from it, but where would the concept of math as play have gone? Continue reading Unschooling: Learning through Play