Recently, I mentioned ways to blend several approaches to raise Christian leaders in your homeschool. Today, I’ll take it a step further and talk about interest driven studies & structuring the time, not the content.
Interest Driven Homeschooling
Look at your kids’ interests and base your studies on those interests. When your kids are young, this should be a primary tool in your homeschool. We talked about this in resource-rich environment and unit studies. In summary, get many books at the library, bring them home and see which ones your kids want to read. Once you discover their interests, develop a unit study or use resources from your home to homeschool.
Share your child’s interests. Just because you’re not interested in it, doesn’t mean you should avoid that topic. Spend time with topics your child likes. If they’re into knights, you can do art, history and science from the middle ages. You can write about knights. Or, find a person your child admires, such as Robin Hood or King Arthur. Read some books and write about that person.
Remember you don’t have to buy a science curriculum to encourage your kids to love science. Same with history. Find a time period they really like and move forward. If they like pyramids, spend time on Egypt. Find something they’re interested in and delve into it.
Have lots of books around your house. Whether they’re library books or your own books or a Kindle with books, give your children access to books. Some people are on the mission field and don’t have the luxury of having a library. If you are in that situation, consider purchasing a Kindle. You can find a wide variety of titles on Kindle, including free classics for the Kindle. This will encourage a love of learning through reading.
I also like the coffee table strategy for using books in your homeshcool. Keep some books on the coffee table and see which ones get picked up and perused. This might spark some new ideas to create a love of learning.
Structure the Time, Not the Content
A Thomas Jefferson Education expounds on this important concept as you create a love of learning. Schedule time each day for school. During that scheduled time, allow your children to choose the content to study. Also spend time doing what is important to you. For me, that was spending time each morning reading classics out loud.
As an example of structuring the time, you may choose to do school from 9am to 12noon. You don’t have to follow a specific curriculum at these young ages. You should teach them to read and write, working on language arts because children are growing in those areas. Those are skills moms choose to review during the scheduled time. The other subjects can be interest-driven. With those other subjects, you can teach language arts.
Inspire, Not Require
I love both of these particular phrases, which come from A Thomas Jefferson Education. Inspire kids to love learning instead of requiring learning. If constantly have a checklist with a seven year old, they will grow to “hate” schooling. Even if they love math now, they will hate it in three or four years. When you’re a dictator or master, barking orders about school, your kids will not love learning. Take a step back and see how you can create a love of learning at these younger ages.
Having said that, I know we have type-A people who can’t handle too much free-for-all. What I suggest is a unit study. Use the unit study method and find a topic of interest for your unit study. Plan a week’s worth of lessons.
Or, find a time period that you like and use your scheduled time to learn about that period. Have books to read over the next month. Work on a different writing project each week. Perhaps, you can do a story-writing activity for week one. The following week, work on a one-paragraph research paper. Or, spend two weeks on each writing project.
In my next blog post, I’ll share ideas on homeschooling high school as you blend the different approaches to raise your kids as Christian leaders.
Question: How do you inspire, instead of require? You can leave a comment by clicking here.