One of the greatest advantages of unschooling is the freedom to explore, and to develop ideas and skills.
Since our daughter started homeschooling a couple of years ago, she has burrowed down several rabbit holes, including interests in astronomy and physics. Generally, after she has learned about a topic, she moves on to new interests. However, throughout the entire time, she has exhibited an enduring passion for drawing, and also animating.
Previously, she had been attending art classes, so already had an interest in drawing. She had also been reading The Warriors series, by Erin Hunter. She began to draw Warriors characters on her computer, and I eventually got her a digital drawing pad.
Interestingly, she learned most of her digital drawing (and animating) skills online, mostly from YouTube videos. She created her own YouTube channel, and a video which shows how she developed the Flametail picture (above):
In this video, she uses a time-lapse recording, which is referred to as a “speedpaint”.
She then continued to develop her interest by creating animations:
She is part of an artist’s community which collaborates on drawings (often short art contests), and animations. These animation collaboration projects are called “MAPs” – Multi-Animator Projects. One artists hosts the MAP and determines, the theme, characters, music, etc. Other artists offer to complete scenes. Usually, the MAP lasts about 30 seconds, but some can last several minutes.
The artists are located worldwide. The other evening, they were comparing their timezones, and it turns out they had participants from Europe, East and West Coast USA/Canada, and Australia.
The next step is to tackle 3-D animation. She has been studying videos about the Blender animation program, and started creating some rudimentary figures.
While it is possible for students at traditional schools to develop interests outside the regular curriculum, for unschoolers this is actually the norm. Our daughter has pursued numerous unusual interests, and I look forward to seeing her participate in many more.