3 Steps to a Natural Home Learning Atmosphere

You probably have a clear idea of what learning looks like inside the four walls of a school building. But when starting to consider home education, suddenly the learning view gets a little murky.

Should I put desks in my basement, stick up a flag, and start the day with the pledge of allegiance?

Perhaps–or maybe there’s a way to nurture both our children’s learning and their longing for the comfort of “home.”

Does the term natural learning sound appealing? Like something you wish your family had?

Then use these three “E’s” to cultivate a natural learning atmosphere in your neck of the woods.

1. Environment

Photo by Kevin Dooley

Have you ever tried to tackle a project in your house, only to be distracted by piles of unorganized stuff? It’s hard to focus and get anything done when surrounded by clutter.

It’s also hard to learn.

When you’re homeschooling, your home matters. It doesn’t have to be immaculate by any means, but it shouldn’t be distracting.

If you need help fighting the clutter wars, stay tuned! Next month Tsh will be writing about spring cleaning at Simple Mom, and here at Simple Homeschool we’ll be focusing on organization from a homeschooling perspective.

Let us be your cheerleaders as you create the home environment needed to make learning easy and inviting for your children.

And as you plan your educational atmosphere, don’t forget to consider the importance of placement.

If you own an incredible home library but the books are crammed on shelves in a not-often-visited corner downstairs, you’re missing the point.

We make learning inviting by making it accessible. It’s also how we show that we value it.

2. Equipment

Photo by Brian

Once we’ve cultivated our home environment we need to gather the right equipment. Haven’t you heard the phrase “a worker is only as good as his tools?” It’s so true.

We invest in what matters. Your child’s education matters to you or you wouldn’t be homeschooling or considering it.

This doesn’t mean spending thousands of dollars. Of course money is involved, but it could also mean bartering, exchanging, trading, and so on. Our budget reflects our priorities, so we need to invest in natural learning tools for our homes.

Of course books are a given. Other types of learning equipment will be standard in many homeschooling households–like math blocks, microscopes, and maps. Other tools will be based on the interests of your students and may include items like knitting needles, high-quality cookware, power drills, nature binoculars, or a camera for that budding photographer.

While reading Snowflake Bentley with my children recently, I was struck by how Bentley’s parents invested in equipment. They spent much of their life savings to buy one of the first cameras available, so their son could pursue his interest in photographing and learning about snowflakes.

The work he produced is still studied and admired today–and all because his parents invested in the equipment to allow him to follow his dream.

3. Experience

Photo by Tim Pierce

As homeschooling parents we have valuable insight into what peaks our child’s interest at any given moment. We also have the advantage of extra hours together–time to devote to those budding interests. This means that the concept of “hands-on learning” can get taken to another level.

Whether it is through travel, field trips, specialized classes, or internships, our children have valuable time to gain the experience that will advance and encourage their education.

Having the first two E’s in place–the environment and the right equipment–will naturally lead our kids to gather the experience they need.

Through a little strategic planning, we can create an atmosphere in our homes that inspires the whole family and makes education a natural extension of life.

We can combine the warmth of home with the joy of learning, and in my experience, there is no better combination.

What steps do you take to create a natural learning atmosphere in your home?

About Jamie Martin

Jamie is a mama to three cute kids born on three different continents. She serves as editor of Simple Homeschool, and blogs about mindful parenting at Steady Mom. Jamie is also the author of two books: Steady Days and Mindset for Moms.

Comments

  1. I love this post! It rings so true. A few years ago when we were doing some renovations to our home my husband had a crazy idea – enclose the patio to make a learning space for our daughter. We figured out how to change around our budget to make it work and it has been an amazing area for our homeschooling. Not only does it give us dedicated space, our daughter can have various projects going at once and not worry they will be disturbed. It is a space where creativity flows and learning and playing of all types can take place. Everything is accessible and that makes home learning that much more enjoyable.

  2. Wonderful post, I wish I’d read it a couple years ago when we started out with desks and bulletin boards :) Now, my goal is to work school more and more into our every day life. We usually end up at our dining room table, on the couch, or even snuggling in bed with a book. I have different kits set up for playtime, you can read about them at the Homeschool Classroom:
    http://www.hsclassroom.net/2009/10/playtime-kits/
    .-= Angela @ Homegrown Mom’s last blog: Homeschooling in Humility (aka Pride Goeth before the Fall) =-.

  3. I am so with you on equipment… we carefully plot and plan what we get for school and if we can’t afford what we are after then we would rather wait and save than have a second rate item… simply because toy articles are often flimsy and break we would rather buy the real thing and teach our kids how to use them… Over the years we have built up a working toolkit for them with real tools – there is nothing more frustrating than trying to make something with tools that don’t work.
    .-= se7en’s last blog: Saturday Spot: Noordhoek Village and the Foodbarn… =-.

  4. Excellent! (That’s my E contribution. :)) Those really are the foundational Elements for a successful learning atmosphere. Thanks for the practical yet inspirational post, Jamie.
    .-= Heidi @ Mt Hope’s last blog: The Bookshelf =-.

  5. This post is so timely! Thank You! This is precisely what we decided to focus on for the month of March! We realized that our current environment is not conducive to homeschooling 5 children so we want to set ourselves up for success. I can’t wait for the follow-ups to this!

  6. Great post! Even though my daughter is only 18 months old, I think this still applies. The equipment part is what trips me up sometimes, because I’m not always sure what is the best use of our money. But seeing it as an investment puts it in a different perspective. I know she is only 18 months old so we don’t have a whole lot of this, but I think it starts early! Thanks Jamie!
    .-= Vina’s last blog: Nourishing Foods Made Simple: It’s Old and It’s Traditional =-.

  7. I was homeschooled for every year of my schooling. One thing my mom always did well was create an environment of learning, curiosity, and visual reminders of what we were learning (or going to learn). We cut out planets and stars and taped them all over the wall. We made a giant cardboard box into the inner ear, and played in it, all the while learning about the hammer, anvil and stirrup. To this day I remember more about those things than anything I ever read in a book.

    She used something called Konos. It was so amazing for me as a child. I highly recommend it. I don’t have my own kids yet but if we homeschool them, I’ll definitely try and get her Konos curriculum!
    .-= Nikki Moore’s last blog: Why I Stopped Using Shampoo, Why I Started Again, and What I’ve Learned Along The Way =-.

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