My guest contributor today, Amanda from Learning Through Experiences, discusses how child-led learning can create a stress-free learning atmosphere for children.
Take a minute to close your eyes and picture what a typical day in your homeschool looks like.
What are you doing?
How are your kiddos responding?
What’s the overall feeling?
If you answered anything other than peaceful days full of learning and exploring…listen up.
Why Do You Stress About Your Child’s Education?
What was your reason for homeschooling?
Every family is different. Some decide to homeschool for religious reasons whereas others decide to homeschool because they want to control their child’s education. Many families have tried other schooling options only to be left with a frustrated child.
Whatever your reasons for homeschooling may be, we all end up stressing at some point.
You stress over what your child is learning, how your child is learning, and if they are making progress.
It could be because our society has put a lot of pressure on our children to learn this and to learn that within a certain timeframe.
I bet it’s because you’re always looking out into the future…
Thinking about if your child will be ready to take on this big ol’ world by themselves…
- Will they be successful?
- Will they get a good job?
- Have I taught them everything they need to know to get by?
But what about right now?
John Holt once said…
Of course, a child may not know what he may need to know in ten years (who does?), but he knows, and much better than anyone else, what he wants and needs to know right now, what his mind is ready and hungry for. If we help him, or just allow him, to learn that, he will remember it, use it, build on it.
We become so obsessed over what our child needs to learn for the future that we forget to focus on what our child wants to learn right now.
So what’s my super easy way to make learning easy?
It’s to focus on the right now.
What is your child curious about?
What fuels him right now?
Stop thinking about what he needs to know for the future and start thinking about the right now.
But How Will My Child Learn the Important Skills?
Okay, so maybe telling you to stop focusing on the future didn’t help the stress melt away. I’m willing to bet it actually made it worse.
You’re probably sitting there worrying about how your child will learn the important life skills if you focus on the right now and what he is curious about in this moment.
Am I right?
Your kiddo probably wants to learn about dinosaurs or how to be a princess.
Well, I’m here to tell you to go with it.
You can spend all day focusing on dinosaurs or how to be a princess and nothing else.
You don’t need a separate math lesson, writing activity, or reading assignment.
I’m giving you permission to go with it.
Is Child-Led Learning True Learning?
Because as John Holt said…
True learning — learning that is permanent and useful, that leads to intelligent action and further learning — can arise only out of the experience, interest, and concerns of the learner.”
If you want your child to learn the important reading, writing, and math skills, you must focus on what they are truly passionate about.
Learning is not linear.
Think about it…
Let’s say you want to learn how to crochet.
Do you separate your learning into different subjects? Do you read about crocheting then figure out the math involved followed by writing an essay on it?
Or do you open an instructional book, pull out your materials, and start experimenting?
Children learn the same way. They need to experiment, explore, and test out their own ideas.
And in the middle of all of that, they’re learning to read, write, and do math.
A really easy example would be a child who loves to cook. They will learn how to read and comprehend by reading the recipes. They will learn a variety of math skills through measuring. And they’ll learn how to write by writing their own recipes.
TRUE learning is always integrated and never separated.
If you’re worried about them missing out on something you deem “important,” you can easily find a way to relate that skill to what really fuels them.
But to me, I’d rather my child know everything there is to know (including all the reading, writing, and math) that goes along with their true passions than bits and pieces of random skills that they’ll never use in their UNIQUE life.
Today I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and follow your child’s lead.
Sit back, relax, and let them take you on their unique learning journey.
Amanda is the owner of Learning Through Experiences where she helps families create stress-free learning environments. She is a former elementary and preschool teacher with over 11 years of experience. Amanda has 2 kiddos of her own, Sicily & Kade, who follow this exact child-led approach that she advocates. Amanda is the creator of Learning Through Experiences: A Child-Led Curriculum. In her spare time, she likes to read, garden, and relax in a bubble bath.