We don't go to the big expensive downtown museums too often because, well, there are four of us and it's expensive. We've got plenty of opportunities and centers near the house for free or close to it.
Anywho, this weekend we went to one of the big, fancy, expensive Nature
and Science museums. Before we even got parked I was feeling an
internal struggle begin. Part of me wanted to make sure Josh
(8y) "learned enough" to make the trip "worth the money". I talked
myself down from this line of thinking and urged myself to trust him,
and the unschooling philosophy.
My will was tested as soon as
we got in the door and Josh ran right past the space themed exhibit. He
loves astronomy and space exploration usually, but that day he didn't
even bat an eye. Instead he headed straight for the dinosaurs. He
wandered for a bit, "oooh, giant skeletons", you know. I was really
struggling here, but I held my tongue and followed his lead.
Then he found a display about a track site in Alaska. He intently
watched a video talking about how many people's efforts go into bringing
fossils to the museum and many of the obstacles they have to overcome.
Then he methodically read each of the information sections around that
display, and played with a 3-d model of the site highlighting different
tracks and fossils found. He later went on to be amazed by their bird
exhibit in the same way.
I have never, ever seen him do that at
a museum. I'm sure part of it is maturity, but also I see that before
he was always under pressure from me to "pay attention and learn
something!" Silly me, all I had to do was get out of his way and let his
curiosity lead him.