Natural Learning

6 Ways a Public School Teacher Supports Natural Learning at Home

by Therusticfive-

This post contains affiliate links. Please see our disclosure page for more information. 

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

Singing into her pretend microphone


 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!

Exploring at the local library
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.

Scouts first time on a boat and first trip to Mackinac Island


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.

Scout checking out the garden

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?

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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.

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  1. sayhellonature

    Thank you so much for the insight. Our little one is still only a few months old but we’ve already started discussing homeschooling.

    09 . 12 . 2016
  2. elizabethdoren2

    Very cool post. I’m with you on reading. I read somewhere a child should read 1000 books before kindergarten. When you read daily you reach that goal by two. Travel, mischief all of it. I really enjoyed this post.

    09 . 12 . 2016
  3. Denaye

    I am on board with all of these ideas!

    09 . 12 . 2016
  4. Therusticfive

    Thank you! Scout and I joined a program from our local library called 1,000 books before kindergarten. She’s currently working towards 700 and we started a year ago January.

    09 . 12 . 2016
  5. Fatema

    Great tips. My kids and I read a ton of books and love going to the libraries.

    09 . 12 . 2016
  6. Mamaguru

    I agree wholeheartedly with this list. I like to give my kids large swathes of free time, which means we don’t always sign up for league sports. Their creativity and discovery come forth at unpredictable time, so they need the space to to explore.

    09 . 12 . 2016
  7. Lauren | also known as mama

    This is just what I needed to read today. My son is 3, and my daughter is an infant, and we’ve skipped preschool this year. I’m not exactly thrilled about the direction public schools are going in. I’ve started planning my own tot school curriculum to test out the homeschooling thing. Thank you thank you thank you for this post. <3

    10 . 12 . 2016
  8. sevenrosesblog

    Rules for homeschooling are very different in Europe, I always thought this must the best way for a child to learn, even if I don’t have any direct experience. Especially number 2, 3 and 6 are things a child almost never experiences when enrolled in a traditional schooling system. This post was so interesting to read, I think you’re doing a great job!!

    10 . 12 . 2016
  9. Therusticfive

    Thank for the nice compliment. I couldn’t agree more that traditional educated kiddos miss out on a lot. I’m hoping one day our public school system will be transformed more towards natural learning and what’s best for the children.

    10 . 12 . 2016
  10. Therusticfive

    You are beyond welcome. If you need more inspiration be sure to check back into my blog, I have several more posts planned around natural learning. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or need someone to talk with while on your journey. ❤️

    10 . 12 . 2016
  11. Naya @ Lactivist in Louboutins

    This is wonderful! I find myself doing these things naturally with my kiddos. It’s nice to know that what I’m doing will help them with learning.

    10 . 12 . 2016
  12. The Sanity Plan

    I love this concept, and wish that I had the temperament to do this with my own children. Right now, we do a blended approach, 3 half days at school and the rest is home. Both my husband and I work from home so they get tons of interactions and playtime with each of us.

    11 . 12 . 2016
  13. tablelifeblog

    I love these ideas… we implement all of them in our homeschool regularly, with the exception of travel. We love traveling, but don’t get to do it as much as we’d like.

    12 . 12 . 2016
  14. Gale

    Hi. I’m a former public school teacher too. I’d really like to read that but the link to your blog (2nd sentence) is not working. Thought you’ld want to know.

    12 . 12 . 2016
  15. Erin Vincent

    Awe, I love all of your reasons!!!

    15 . 12 . 2016
  16. Lillian Abbey

    We do a lot of the same things… especially reading! I am also a former public school teacher/librarian and I definitely agree with the Montessori/child lead approach to learning.

    27 . 12 . 2016
  17. Michelle Catallo

    I 100% support homeschooling and agree to the many reasons as to why; just wish I could. I truly do wish I could but, being a single mom with three kids I already have to work two jobs (one full-time and one part-time) plus, spend all night typing away trying to earn extra. I spend any second I can though teaching my kids extra outside of their public schooling. Kudos to you and all who are able.

    28 . 12 . 2016

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