In How to Tutor Your Own Child, I emphasize the educational value of simplicity, silence, and boredom. Along those same lines, I was struck by this quote about the benefits of aloneness from “The Writer as Psychotic,” an article by author Philip Yancey:
Brain scans reveal that aloneness is central to the creative impulse; sensory deprivation allows the synaptic loops in the inner brain that lead to creativity.
I think Yancey’s point holds true for everyone, not just writers. While schools often emphasize group work, it is the absence of interaction–and of other stimuli–that can provide the space we need to create, allowing us to fill the void with something new.
Here are a few other ways that children can benefit from being alone:
- By learning to eat at restaurants alone, visit museums and attend performances alone, and mingle at social events alone, children gain poise and confidence.
- Completing tasks in groups can mask areas in need of improvement; but solo practice of skills–cooking eggs, tying shoes, changing a tire–can identify weaknesses and ultimately lead to the development of stronger skills.
- Making decisions together teaches compromise, but making decisions alone builds independence and the ability to reason.
Are there other ways that aloneness benefits children or students?