Written by contributor Hillary Boucher of Infinitely Learning
Our children are quite young and so far interest-driven learning has been all we’ve needed. Philosophically, we are what is described as “unschooling.”
I am not particularly attached to unschooling as a rule-set as much as I am dedicated to individualized, case-by-case, interest-driven learning.
I’m open to using any tool that helps facilitate growth and learning and I acknowledge that at some point it could include a specific curriculum.
Our Family/Life Curriculum thus Far
We follow a strong daily and seasonal rhythm within a vibrant community, which lays the foundation of learning and growth. We constantly ask ourselves, “How can we live our best life?” because modeling passionate, life-long learning is one of the best ways to ensure that our kids continue to be enthusiastic learners.
We try to answer questions, dig in deep and authentically learn alongside them. In our fast paced, information driven culture it seems more important to know “how” to learn and find answers than remembering specific facts.
In addition to our basic life-led learning model the specific tools that we’ve used so far are:
I came across the Enki Foundation Guides when my oldest son was just three and I was very inspired by them. Their mindful approach towards living and learning weaves together nature, multi-culturism, and a rhythmic, family-centered approach that speaks to my heart.
I don’t *use* the curriculum on a day to day basis, but pull from the Kindergarten program when I need inspiration or am looking for supplemental stories and activities.
Pros: family centered, eclectic, multi-cultural, integrated arts, flexible
Cons: expensive, only goes to grade 2, there is a lot of preparation involved if you want to follow it “by the book”
We love books! I try to buy books that will add to our personal library–like this treasury of Greek Myths, and this Child’s World Atlas or any of the fun and educational Usborne books. (The boys love this one.) We use the library to supplement and explore.
We use this for everything. The kids like to type letters, play games, listen to music and watch video.
If there’s a question we can’t answer we ask the world wide web. I continue to be amazed at the resources available online and have just started to poke around the companion links for our Usborne books.
Nature & Outdoor Education
Photo by Hillary Boucher
My son Sol participates in a homeschool program once a week called Primitive Pursuits that teaches kids outdoor survival skills and reverence for nature. We try to take the kids out into the forest as much as possible. This feels very important to us.
My husband loves maps. We usually have a few hanging on the wall (they change) and we look at them often, identifying waterways, land and talking about where we live in the world and what that means on a cultural and scientific level. In fact one of my first blog posts ever was about our amazing local BioRegion Map.
Workbooks & Magazines
National Geographic is a family favorite and stimulates lots of conversation. We subscribe to Ladybug Magazine, which we devour when it comes in the mail. I buy various workbooks to tackle basic math and writing, but so far my six-year-old is not interested in them.
I keep them around if his interest ever changes or for his brother and sister who might appreciate them.
We have a box full of games like Bananagrams, Math Dice Jr., cards and so on.
We keep a shelf of crayons, colored pencils, glue and scissors right near our kitchen table. I encourage the kids to tell stories with their pictures, write down what they tell me and practice basic letter writing. I keep large pencils and beginner writing paper with the alphabet easily visible.
This is how our learning looks right now and I’ll be interested to see how our journey unfolds over the next five years or so.
How has your educational style or curriculum changed with time?