I am fairly ecletic homeschooler, pulling things from all sorts of places, but I have a strong emphasis on following the lead of one boy child.
If he’s interested in something I try to tie learning to that interest. When he was younger all I needed to do was find a way to connect it with Angry Birds and all would be good in the world, and I could always weave learning into spontaneous stories . . . I wouldn’t keep telling the story until the math question could be answered. Great way by the way to encourage mental math.
Anyway, one day this past winter it snowed, ah such a lovely snow. Keeping a child in the house instead of going out to the explore the snow seemed quite silly to us, so off we went. We built snow forts and had fun doing “snow math.” This also meant he needed to use his body to duck and weave. Answer the question in three seconds or watch here comes a snowball! We had a hoot! Lad made a point of returning the favors with much harder questions.
As we played the lad noticed the squirrels were out and about and asked if other animals liked the snow as well. This lead to making snow penguins using natural materials — maple keys, pine cones and the like. So we learned where pine cones keep their seeds and how maple keys usually come down in groups of two but are very easy to separate.
Following a child’s lead means taking advantage of the things they are interested in. Earlier this spring my lad made himself a bucket full of water, left the lid off a few days and then walked around to various buckets to collect mosquito larva.
“What’cha doing son?” said I.
“Oh, I want to see if I can make mosquito’s breed mom. Do you think they would use a mouse if I could find a way to make a nest for one?” was his response.
“Why do you want to breed mosquitoes for? And what do mice have to do with it???”
“OH.. remember how they like warmer things? I want to know if mice are warmer than people! If they bite the mouse and not me then I know that mice might be good for keeping mosquitoes away from me.”.
Good experiment I thought.
And then later in an email I learned that Hands of a Child had their Mosquito Lapbook on sale for a $1. WOOT WOOT! Good way to learn a bit more about mosquitoes. Now the lad knows the names to the different mosquito parts.
Just so you know — mice do NOT make a good mosquito repellent. But now a boy child also knows this and that is a good thing for a young experimenter.
Sometimes a child’s curiosity needs to be stoked a bit. I recently had a chance to review Go Science DVD’s. In the DVDs my son observed one experiment that didn’t go quite as desired and wanted to see if he could do it correctly and so off he set to do so. He learned so much by trying different ideas. When he thought he had it right he wanted to put something together to help other children do it right, and so you have it.
Following the lead of a child can lead to really good learning, it’s good to sit back and watch the learning happen, and it’s good when you can sometimes help guide it as well.
Isn’t that part of the joy of homeschooling?
Who Am I?
Rabbits, God, Son and Hubby . . . these things fill my life.
Reading, gardening and
walking . . . these things add enjoyment.
Writing, teaching, running my
business . . . these things expand my life and learning.
And so I am made much more whole.
Came join me as I blog about all this at A Net In Time.