Learning at Home Series

Day 8: Leave room for surprises

Find surprises in the daily things.

Pleasant surprises always bring a sense of joy. In my home learning, I like to leave room for surprises.

I provide my boys with a lot of unstructured time: time for them to feel bored and find things to do on their own. There was once when my eldest boy (10 year old) was playing lacing beads with his sister (2 year old). Out of nowhere, he started taking the strings to try braiding them. I was by the side to give a simple demonstration.

We take time to learn and find answers together. YouTube is a good source for learning almost anything. Recently, our 10 year old has learnt to make a Lego puzzle box (shown in bottom right picture) just by watching a YouTube video. It’s surprising how they can grasp the concept just by watching a video. Not all projects are successful, and we learn through the process of experimentation as well.

Saying “no” or “I don’t know” provides an opportunity for the children to show us what they know and are capable of. They are usually eager to let us know how resourceful they are. For example, I dislike cutting big fruits like watermelon. So when my boys said that they wanted watermelon, I told them that they can have some if they manage to open it. Minutes later, I heard satisfied “slurping” sounds from the kitchen. They did it! (Disclaimer: Prior to this, they had been cutting other fruits and vegetables and knew the safety rules.) 

There was another time when my eldest saw his daddy struggling with sewing, so he took up the challenge and completed the task with gladness.

These little surprises keep me sane at home. A teacher-student relationship can be a very stressful one; but in a co-learner relationship, we have more fun learning together. Another advantage is that they are meaningfully occupied for a longer time!


1. How will you give your children time and space to be ‘bored’?

2. What is something you wish to learn from/with your children?

3. How can we model the process of learning for our children?

Zhen Xin

Where you can find me:

@zhen_xin_28 @hoon.creatives