Interest Led Learning in Homeschool

I was recently asked how I find the balance between "interest led" education vs. "requirement focused" as a homeschool mom.  I know that every home educator will answer this question differently, that is the beauty of the personalized approach to educating at home.

If you follow me on Instagram, you will notice that we spend a lot of our time outside on adventures, or at home you'll see the girls being super crafty and creative making up their own "interest led" projects.  From Ruby running her own business to Ginger making paper dolls, I feel like this is where the real learning happens.  Not in finishing workbooks or following the same topics the local public schools are teaching.

"The world is the true classroom.  The most rewarding and important type of learning is through experience, seeing something with our own eyes." -Jack Hanna

swallowtail butterfly

How do we find the time to spend so much time outdoors in nature, when there's other necessary school work to be done?  I feel like being out in nature IS necessary schoolwork!  But if you mean, learning to read and write, etc. vs. playing outside,  I find a way to make "playing outside"  a learning experience.  If, for example, we discovered a cute little caterpillar in the backyard, the girls (at whatever level they are in) can retell the story of the metamorphosis in their journals (language arts).  We can also research his name and learn his characteristics (science).  We can read books about butterflies (literature).

homeschool nature study

"All children respond to an abundance of free time with ideas, plans, imagination, playing.  They solve problems, think, grow. Children respond to life by living.  They need this time to grow.  Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life" -Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

We do still have a structured morning of math, history, science and language arts.  But I definitely don't feel the pressure that my girls need to be in a certain grade level in math, for example, or need to finish their book by the end of the year.  What I'm more concerned about is if they are understanding the concepts being taught, and if they have a good attitude when things get tough.  I believe this will serve them far better than being able to tell people they finished Algebra by ninth grade.

reading on the couch

Once an atmosphere of education takes root in your lifestyle, I really believe that fundamentals are getting taught, but more so wrapped up in a package custom fit for each child.

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Finding the delicate balance between interest led learning, and educational fundamentals can take time and patience, with plenty of mistakes.  But as long as we continue to try to find the right combination for each child, I feel they can only prosper.