It’s an unschooler classic to say that kids learn things like maths from baking. And like so many things I eventually came round to (eg bedsharing!), I couldn’t wrap my head around that as surely what you could learn is limited? Au contraire! When you allow a child to dive deep into their passion, supporting them and opening up to observing what’s happening, you realise SO much is there!
There are the more obvious things: life skills, safety, measurement, temperature, following instructions, comprehension, multiplication and division. Then there are slightly less obvious things like art through decorating. Nutrition and chemistry through discussing halving sugar or potential substitutions. Technology as she makes a tricky scale and struggling oven work for her, Goal setting as she tries new things. Time management as she works out when things need to happen.
Beyond that, I see her working on things that I’m still working on. When she whipped up this Victoria sponge on the weekend because she fancied it, she was drawing on confidence (she knew she could), empathy (she was careful to make it gluten free for her dad) and prioritising self care (baking is satisfying, eating cake is enjoyable). I see her changing recipes because she now knows enough to recognise that what’s written doesn’t work and there I see risk taking and self-trust. When something doesn’t turn out right, there is disappointment and frustration, and ultimately resilience.
As we negotiate washing up and collaboratively find solutions, she and I are both learning conflict resolution as well as how the world looks through someone else’s eyes. We are learning to live in community. And that’s the thing. I learn that learning isn’t just something that my children do and that I hold space for but that we are a community of learners right here in this household. So much of learning through living is laying foundations that we can’t see and though that’s increasingly being born out by research, it’s something we can intuitively know.
This post first appeared on Instagram