Or free-range learning, natural learning, autonomous learning, child-led learning... unschooling in many ways....
I decided on home-education (homeschooling in USA), when I was pregnant with the Wildflower. A few times afterwards I wondered about when the academic or more serious learning, or perhaps, the more obvious child-adult learning would begin. I just mean, the learning that I become aware of as a home-education or organic learning occurence. Hard for me to explain.
I hadn't expected it now. But yesterday I realised that this is what we're doing now together.
So the child-led, or general unschooling, approach is to allow the child to show or indicate or express an interest, and then provide for them an environment to help them explore that interest.
When parents ask panickly (its a word); but what do we do? This is it.
Wait for the child's interest, or anticipate an interest,
be active in their lives,
be ready to provide resources,
let go of expectations.
Anyway, so far I've purchased books, toys, and now DVDs, by what I consider worthwhile - educational, encourage creativity, eco-friendly, fun, etc.
As she's getting older, and really, it starts quite young, she has obvious favourites. At almost 18 months, I can now spot Interests. Although I realise I did this about 6 months ago with lions....
She is going through a frog interest right now. I think it was sparked by a Daintree Forest (Australia) photography book I have, which I gave to her to flick through.
The interest might end tomorrow, it might continue for months. But she's shown an interest, now it's up to me provide. If I don't provide it's not the end of the world, but it is a lost opportunity. Her mind right now is geared towards frogs, why not feed that?
So I had planned to crochet a frog but we spotted a soft toy mama-&-baby frog set in a store and bought it for her. I might still create another one anyway. She adores it, more so than any other soft toy (excluding her beloved Mish Mish mouse of course).
I was fascinated with just how much she enjoys it. It could be simply because she likes the look of it. But I can't help believe that it must be because it has meaning for her. It is a frog, something she's fascinated with right now.
If I hadn't been aware, I might have bought her a dog or teddy thinking it was a nice gift, and she would have hugged it and then tossed it aside. But the frog made a connection.
She knows fogs say ribbit ribbit, and that they hop.
I've ordered a frog book
and I play the frog segment of Planet Earth for her.
She also requests we draw frogs for her, which we do to the best of our ability, ahem
The older she gets the wider and richer the resources we can tap into.
And all this occurs amongst a million other things going on in the day. It's not like we're frog obsessed to the exclusion of other things!
To ensure this 'learning' remains child-led and organic, I release any expectations of what things related to frogs she 'should' try out, as well as how long her interest lasts. If I purchase 10 books and DVDs on frogs only to have her lose interest, then so be it.