Isn’t it amazing how knowledgeable your children are in their areas of interest? Your dinosaur enthusiast can name dozens of prehistoric species that you haven’t even heard of, and your dancer loves to talk about famous ballets and their composers. Wouldn’t it be nice to incorporate some of that enthusiasm into your homeschooling?
What Is Interest-Led Learning?
Interest-led learning is an approach to homeschooling that seeks to do just that; it can augment any curriculum you’re currently following or be used as a complete educational method. The guiding principle is to bring your children into contact with fascinating resources and experiences, igniting their natural drive to learn.
Here are some ways to harness the power of curiosity in your home education program.
Go on location. An everyday place, like a movie theater, can become an enthralling field trip. Call the theater’s manager to request a tour on behalf of a homeschool group. You don’t need to be the formal leader of an educational cooperative; just bring a few other homeschooling families along, and everyone will benefit.
Surround your child with resources. Turn your child’s passion for robots into self-education by showing him the many avenues to discovering what he wants to know. Help him find books at the library, in both the juvenile and adult sections. Even if he’s not ready to read engineering texts on robotics, he will be fascinated by the pictures and their captions. Search online for simple plans to build battery-powered gadgets, and watch a documentary about the Mars Rover. Look for resources in your neighborhood, such as presentations given at a community center and science clubs that your child could join.
Reconnect with your own interests. If your child is struggling to find a subject she’d like to explore, invite her to join you on a learning adventure of your own. You might choose a topic that interested you as a child, such as steam locomotives, the Loch Ness Monster, or space travel. Another option is to delve into something that interests you now, such as Thai cuisine, playing the guitar, or recent archaeological finds. Even a 5-year-old child will enjoy these things if you share them with her in a simplified way. Prepare a meal of coconut curry together, and talk about some of the ways Thailand is different from where you live. Show her how to play a simple song on the guitar. Page through the current issue of National Geographic and admire the treasures of ancient civilizations. Involving the kids in your interests broadens the scope of their study and may spark new interests of their own.
Your children are fascinated by the world around them, so look for educational opportunities close at hand: places to visit, avenues to information, and shared interests. The interest-led approach to homeschooling uses your children’s natural curiosity to fuel their educational journey; it also makes every learning experience a delightful one.
Also published on Medium.