I often tag my posts and photos with #childledlearning. Today, I thought I’d give you a glimpse of what that looks like in our home. It’s been a very science-y week.
Inspiration struck late last week when we were shelving books. He found the The Everything Kids’ Science Experiments Book and straight up decided that it was Science Week. I set aside my plans to follow his lead. It’s useless to fight it. I can either follow him or we can be at a complete stand still.
Our Homeschool Philosophy
When I was preparing to homeschool my oldest I did a lot of research. I read all of the big ones: Charlotte Mason, Well Trained Mind, and John Holt. My public school days had me up on the current philosophies of education, a little research on how children learn, and well versed in creating unit studies. I understand that all of these philosophies do work – a child will learn whether you are dedicated to Classical or Unschooling your kids from birth.
However, I can’t see how committing to being one “type” of homeschooler would be beneficial for us. My homeschool philosophy is much like the teaching philosophy I wrote before I started teaching public school (except now I can actually implement it): Do what works for each child. Consider the whole child when making plans and drawing up lessons. Consider him. Include him. We’re all in this together.
We are eclectic. We are child-led, but we are not unschoolers. I buy curriculum, we use worksheets, we make our own materials, we spend entire days reading Magic Tree House books, we basically live at the library… I do most of the choosing, but I choose what we do by what he likes. By what I think will work for him. Sometimes he guides me. This week, for instance. The best way I can describe my homeschool philosophy is an eclectic approach with an emphasis on child led learning.
What Child Led Learning
Looks like at Our House
Digging my homemade worksheet? Yep, I created it on the fly. Why? Because who has time to source worksheets at 7AM when an excited five year old is dragging out the spaghetti pot and demanding I turn on the stove? That’s what child-led learning looks like at our house. It’s 700 questions in a row that I don’t have a single answer for. It’s experiments and books and puzzles. It’s hours and hours (and sometimes days and weeks) of exploring his latest obsession.
If you dropped in on us this week you might have seen my son digging up roots in the yard in his pajamas at noon. Or listening to Diary of a Wimpy Kid on his headphones while picking apart his lunch. If you were a fly on our wall this week, you might have dropped in on him playing Snap Circuts for the 1,585th hour. He especially loves making the siren sounds. So, you might have seen me yelling for the sirens to STAHHHHHHHP!!!
You may have caught us driving back and forth to the library one of the four times we went this week. You’d have seen him flipping through James and the Giant Peach while we all listened to the fantastic story and laughed at his cranky, old aunts. Or maybe you would see us snuggled up comfy in bed reading his kid’s Astronomy book before bedtime. It’s never just a story book. Can’t he just pick a story book? Just once?
Whenever you happened to pop in this week, you would have seen learning. No, we didn’t get our worksheets done. No, we didn’t follow our curriculum as written. But we were both getting an education in STEM, biology, chemistry, math, and literature. He was learning all week long. Hands-on, rich, memorable activities.
When the School Week is Over
After this crazy week of science, today it was finally the weekend. No school, son. No school today. Rather than school, he decided that he was going to do his “work.” He got out his little planner and wrote down that he was going to “Zig Zag” today. That meant he was going alternate
playing working on his microscope and telescope. Work, clean-up, switch, work, clean-up, switch. It went like this most of the day. Until I forced him to play outside… where he spent the entire time digging for bugs with his tweezers – to check out under the microscope, naturally.
We still got out a couple times to do some learning apart from this week’s science experiments. We couldn’t miss Groundhog Day at the Library! A few crafts and lots of laughs is just the break we needed. Okay, just the break I needed. Keeping up with these kids is no joke. The amount of learning we get done is amazing – especially considering the two younger siblings underfoot. But more on that next week.
I’ve said it before, I’m so glad we’re doing this. I’m so glad I have the time, space, and resources to figure this out with him. Figuring out his preferred style of learning was easy. He prefers an immersion education. When he finds something that captures his attention, he becomes consumed by it. Down the rabbit hole we both go.
What does child led learning look like at your house? Feel free to leave a comment below.
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