Relaxed Homeschooling: 9 Ways to Spark Learning

Based on the learning philosophy I talked about in the last Relaxed Homeschooling post, there are numerous ways parents can help facilitate a lifestyle of learning within their homes.  The following are only a few ideas to help spark educational opportunities for your children:

  1. Subscribe to an educational magazine (or look for older copies in lots on Ebay); just be mindful of the publisher’s worldview.  I like to “bait” the house with these magazines that spark terrific conversation.
  2. Collect resource guides and field guides about animals, plants, etc. and teach your children how to use them.
  3. Get a telescope and microscope and let them explore.
  4. Get into the habit of saying, “Let’s look it up”.  Show them how to look up information they are interested in finding.
  5. Look for conversational opportunities and expand them.
    • For example, if a child says to you, “What kind of bear is this?” You could answer “a panda” and end the conversation. But if you demonstrate an excitement about learning, you can show your child that each subject opens up a world of learning possibilities. With a small child you can offer him different descriptive words about the panda. Couple synonyms together to transfer the meaning of harder words. “He is very big. He is gigantic. He is enormous.” (or colossal, etc.) With older children you may ask, “I wonder where pandas live?” Give them a feel for the way a country is also part of a continent and familiarize them with the name of the continent. These aren’t formal lessons, but rather, you are creating “learning hooks” on which more and more information can be hung as they discover more about the world.
  6. Utilize time in the car. Use the sights to explain and describe activities. Listen for questions and answer them as thoroughly as possible.
  7. Encourage them to play outside, collect interesting objects, draw them, and observe them for a length of time.  Caterpillars are especially fun to watch metamorphose.
  8. Keep building and craft materials available to children.  Blocks, Lincoln Logs, Legos, etc.  Play-Doh, though messy is good too.  Paper, glue, scissors, stickers, felt, Popsicle sticks, cardboard, etc.
  9. Severely limit computer games, movie-watching, etc.  Most children do not default to creativity when recreation is readily available.  Boredom, left untreated, can open up a whole new world to a child.

The simplicity of educating our children, as I see it, is having our eyes open for the opportunities that abound all around us and being available to use them.

Do you want to know more about how to do “relaxed homeschooling”? My ebook gives a simple, practical explanation: Think Outside the Classroom

__________________________________________________________________

14 Responses to “Relaxed Homeschooling: 9 Ways to Spark Learning”

  1. Amy says:

    ***Boredom, left untreated, can open up a whole new world to a child.***

    You just rocked my world!! Thank you!

    ~Amy

    • Kelly L says:

      Loved that quote too! Great ideas. Although I do a little more book work and stuff, I like to incorporate your ideas! Thanks!

  2. Word Warrior says:

    Kelly L,

    Just to clarify, this isn’t meant as an exhaustive means of education 😉 We do book work too, but I think most of us miss the “bigger” learning opportunities that present themselves when we aren’t looking.

  3. Kim M says:

    I love your ideas. Thank you 🙂

  4. Ginger says:

    Going to library weekly since they were little has proven very successful. Just being there makes them want to read and study. I love it!
    Question: I know what field guides are, but what are resource guides?

  5. Word Warrior says:

    Ginger,

    I think I meant “field” 😉 I was just thinking “resource material” in the same sentence.

  6. Jennifer says:

    I LOVE looking at fun, gorgeous animal books as it is and what a fun thing, to include a child as well 🙂 Already I picture myself saying to a kid, “Did you know ‘Baloo’ means ‘bear’ in Hindi? Mowgli did. And cheetah girl-cubs leave when two yrs old to start a family, while cheetah boys hunt together with their brothers all their lives. And dolphins can tell what’s in a person’s body just by using their sonar ability..”

    I don’t know if I could ever homeschool, but I DO keep finding books I love that are also great for kids, even involving numbers and math (which I’m bad with); one way or another, I intend to teach my kids SOME things at home, and it looks like God’s providing. It’s a good thing I love books and buy them by the groce already; that’s ONE big advantage I have for teaching 😛

    • Kelly L says:

      Totally random, but our friend was pregnant when she went for a swim with a dolphin and it treated her so gently with a slow swim, while her husband got the ride of his life! They really can tell!

  7. Jennifer says:

    Aw, that’s awesome! A real sign of God’s design.

  8. Diana says:

    One thing we have done is to buy practical things for gifts and also instead of a mess of curriculum. For example, we stopped buying all those toys that need bins. My 16 yr daughter has gotten sewing supplies, cake decorating tools and a video. My 12yr son just got charcoal and a dutch oven for his bday and my 14yr old son has gotten things like dremels, routers and other tools. Instead of buying a mess of textbooks we like real activities and real books. I buy biographies or good science books from Answers in Genesis rather than the stunted textbooks. They love reading them over and over. We encourage real life experiencing of things as much as possible. My 4 yr old got a little tool box and some stubby REAL tools along with some wood and nails. He loves being able to get a little bag of nails whenever him and Papa go to the hardware store. I even bought him some tulips and he has been very protective and enjoyed seeing them pop up this spring (they were a Xmas gift).
    As far as vocabulary we have never had official vocabulary work. We just read a lot, talk a lot, listen to a lot of podcasts and pick up new words we wouldnt normally hear, and look up anything we want to know. We read a lot of old books aloud together as well. All my kids have always been complimented on their large vocabulary even from a young age.

  9. […] 8 Ways to spark learning -(she actually lists 9!!)  a great list to keep in mind as we balance life and homeschooling. […]

  10. Weathering and Erosion
    4th grade
    Chris Hoague and Sara Waggoner

  11. Heather Lynn says:

    Any suggestions for educational magazines to have around for said “baiting”? My oldest is just learning to read and I would love to subscribe to a magazine for him to enjoy and begin the baiting process!

    • Word Warrior says:

      Heather,

      We just bought a pile of “Nature Friend” off Ebay and my kids love it. It’s pretty basic and simple, perfect for those learning to read or in the lower grades. (I like to have my older ones read it to the non-readers.)

Leave a Reply

Dissenting comments are welcome only in the spirit of "iron sharpening iron"; hateful or angry responses will be removed at my discretion. You may add your gravatar (image) at Gravatar

WordPress Themes