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It only took me 7 years to realize I don’t agree with the public school system and to know I want a different and better education for my own kiddos. Check out my blog on the reasons I left teaching for more insight into why I left.
Now, I am a firm believer in natural learning and homeschooling is a great avenue for me to support natural learning with my children. This is why we have chosen to homeschool our kiddos and a big reason why I left the public school system.
Here are 6 ways we support natural learning at home…
1. We play
We make sure to provide the kiddos with open ended toys that allows them to use their imaginations during lots of unstructured play time. Our “toys” tend to fit in well with a Montessori/Reggio/Waldorf inspired approaches. Some of our favorites are PVC pipes, wooden blocks, Green Toys, and Legos.
Playtime is child led and completely unstructured. We as parents play with the kiddos by following their lead and ask thought provoking open-ended questions.
2. We allow boredom.
We have a routine to our day, but we don’t have a set schedule. We have lots of free time available in our day. This allows for some boredom to creep up which encourages them to find something to do. In other words, it builds their problem solving.
3. We encourage risk taking.
We want the children to explore and try new things, so we encourage them to do just that. Many kids I worked with in the public schools were afraid to try new concepts for fear of getting it wrong. Here, we encourage the kiddos to try it and support them through both the failure and successes. Exposing children to failure in a safe place like home will prepare them for when they face a failure on their own and encourages perseverance.
4. We read!
This is probably the most important one in my opinion. The little one and I read several books of all different kinds everyday and we visit the library often. Our oldest reads when he is with us on his own along with a bedtime story that is read to him. We encourage him to read all different kinds of print. Notice, I said print and not just books. Print is every where and it helps him to grow his interests and reading ability.
5. We travel and visit new places.
We travel as often as we can to new places. This includes trips to museums, zoos, conservation areas, etc. We even hold memberships to several places. This gives our kiddos more opportunities to explore and seek out interests. Be sure to check out my latest blog series here on places in Michigan that support natural learning.
6. We spend time in nature.
Spending time in nature is equally as important as the reading. We spend a lot of time in our backyard playing, gardening, etc. We try to get out everyday as long as it is safe to do so. We also visit our local nature area for hiking and exploring their nature playground. Outdoor time is another great opportunity for us to give the kids unstructured playtime.
These are the 6 ways we encourage natural learning with our kiddos.
What ways do you encourage natural learning with your children?
I’m Melissa Dow, M.ED. I am a wife, mama of 2 and a bonus mama of 1. A former public school educator with 7 years of experience in both special education and general education who is on a new journey to help parents guide their children to uncover their true passions in order to find their life purpose. I love spending time out in nature whether hiking, running, camping, canoeing or just playing in our backyard (aka our outdoor classroom). I also enjoy reading, learning new things, organic gardening and creating our a simple life.