Interest-Led Learning

The thing I love most about homeschooling is the freedom we have to choose our own path.
While a more structured course of study might work for some, just as having none at all might work for others, we fall somewhere in the middle. Our school at home tends to be (mostly) child-led and we create much of our “curriculum” on the fly by following our current passions.

We’ve discovered that interest-led learning is . . .

(Kind of an obvious one, huh?) When you were in school did you ever wish you could skip all the boring parts and get to what you love? Of course I have a vision in my mind of the things I’d like her to know as she grows. However, for now we focus on what gets her excited about learning. We let her enthusiasm guide our overall choices of what to learn about as well as our day-to-day activities.

The result? She thinks learning is fun. She wants to do “school work” at all hours of the day, whenever the mood strikes her. The distinction between “learning time” and “other time” is blurred.
If someone asks, Eva will say she’s in first grade. And in many aspects she’s right on target for a typical six-year-old. Much of what we study she would also be learning if she attended our local elementary school. Yet when it comes to reading, she can easily read second/third grade level books.

She often wants to study things not covered in the typical first-grade classroom (e.g., multiplication, cursive writing, Spanish) and we accommodate that. Other times she wants to review things (puzzles, games, worksheets) that come easy to her because she finds them enjoyable. Other topics we skim or even skip.We follow her lead.
I was not one of those people who always knew they would homeschool their children. Truthfully, I found the whole notion crazy. We had two years of preschool under our belt and the Kindergarten registration was long completed.

About six weeks before the beginning of the school year, the thought popped into my head quite randomly: What if we didn’t send her? Now, just a year and a half later, it would not be an exaggeration to say my entire worldview of education has been altered. It’s not just about school at home. You begin to see everything as a learning experience because that’s what life is. I used to worry we’d have trouble coming up with ideas; now our list of potential topics overflows.

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