If you are familiar with how most public and/or private schools operate, then you know about those things called “learning objectives.” These are typically material and milestones that students are required to learn and meet within a given school year.
For the homeschooling family, these objectives are not always seen as necessary. Instead, most families opt-in for natural learning. So, the question now becomes – how important is it to teach the facts in your homeschool?
Below, you’ll find four tips for embracing natural learning and how they can have more of an impact and long-term positive effect (versus simply learning the facts).
What is natural learning?
In a nutshell, the natural learning approach can be seen through a Charlotte Mason lens. Charlotte Mason’s approach is one that is rooted in observing children, then taking what is shown and filtering it through what is taught. This approach allows you to help your child develop a love of learning while teaching important skills and concepts.
Observe your children.
Observation is one of the key ways to find out what your child already knows and areas they may be lacking in. Often times, parents overlook this vital step in their child’s education because of the to-do list of facts that need to be learned per some website.
The key here is to set the pre-made learning objectives aside and focus on your child’s current skills and abilities. From this observation, you can then do the next tip.
Create your own objectives.
Once you’ve observed your child and noted several things about their skills and abilities, you can now turn those into practical learning objectives that fit your child. This may seem hard to do, but in essence, it is quite easy.
There are many ways and resources to provide your child with learning experiences that foster the objectives you have set up for them. For example, if your child is learning how to write, you could try providing them with copy work. If they don’t seem interested, consider incorporating a subject they enjoy (like dinosaurs or superheroes).
The key to this tip is to not get caught up in a pre-made list of objectives and feeling comfortable in creating your own based on your child’s unique needs.
Consider combining to build a connection.
This is something else that usually feels weird to homeschooling parents. At first, you probably believe that each subject needs to be taught separately with their own lesson plan and time of day to be completed. While this works for some… for most, they find it harder to build connections between what is being taught.
This can have a negative impact on the way a child is taught to process information; thus, making it difficult for them to understand the point in what they are learning. Unit studies are a great way to use one topic to teach across multiple subjects, all while homeschooling multiples ages/grades as well. These also offer the child to have a say in what they’d like to learn – another win!
Recognize the whole child.
The natural approach to learning takes education from learning nothing but facts to recognizing that the whole child is a part of the process. Focusing on more than just the facts opens the doors to nurturing the physical, emotional, and social side of learning.
Instead of focusing on simply learning how to read, embrace what is being read, and expand on it. Perhaps it could be a story that helps with a social skill like being kind to others or dealing with bullies. This takes learning to another level.
Learning facts definitely has its place in the world of education; however, the long-term effects aren’t nearly as good as if a child is able to naturally learn. What is taught and learned naturally seem to have a bigger impact in a child’s life, leading them to remember more and actually apply it in real life.
CHIME IN: What are some ways you incorporate natural learning and learning facts in your homeschool? Let us know in the comments below!