As parents, we are always worried about doing enough with our children. As homeschool parents, I feel like we are hyper-focused on making sure our kids are learning everything that they need to live happy, productive, successful lives. But I feel like we have a tendency to go too far the other way into doing too much structured, too much parent-led. But I feel like the more we do child-led learning the more our kids learn and the more they know themselves – their likes, dislikes, and what they truly enjoy doing.
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I have early childhood education training from way before I had kids. Somedays I think every person should have early childhood education training before having children. The things I learned during that time, during my time training and working in child-care have been detrimental in raising my kids and letting them led me in their education and growing up.
What is Child-Led Learning?
Child–led learning is when a child is offered the opportunity to choose their own learning activity, whether that’s building with blocks, playing in the sandpit, or painting, for example. Lego here in our house is a favorite child-led learning activity.
If a child has been in a traditional school system for any period of time, he or she will likely be accustomed to teacher-led instruction where very little, if any, input from the child was incorporated into the lesson plans. If you yourself were in public school, it might be difficult to break away from your idea of what learning should look like. You might find it difficult to relax, to trust your instincts, and follow your child’s lead.
Why Use Child-Led Learning?
Foster a love of learning – I’m sure you have heard this term before.
Grow the brain. The child wants to play a computer game. The adult’s job here is to ensure the child has access to games that help grow the mind rather than hinder it. We have been loving Night Zookeeper, for example, a fun “game” for them that is educational for me.
Encourage movement for good health. Children are not built for sitting. Let them move their body when they need to. Movement allows children to connect concepts to action and to learn through trial and error.
Child-Led and Homeschool Curriculum
I’m not suggesting that you throw out your curriculum at all. Your curriculum for one should not take up your whole day, there should be plenty of time for letting your kids explore their own interests.
Homeschooling doesn’t have to be boring and driven by a curriculum you bought online. Homeschooling can be fun and personalized and engaging for everyone. You can definitely find a homeschool curriculum that works for you and your child and child-led learning. Not all curriculum is strict and structured.
The overall basis of child-led learning is that your child is always learning. Even without a structured curriculum or lesson plan. Your children are taking in the world around them, they are exploring and learning from their experiences while playing.