Interest Led Learning

How do you know what to teach?  This is one of the more frequent questions I answer as a homeschooler.  I think the thing that baffles some people the most is that we don’t use a science curriculum – because my kids love science.  What does “interest led” learning look like?

Last week I assured readers interest led learning doesn’t mean we wake up every morning wondering, “What will we do today?”  I shared our plans for the outside lessons and activities for the upcoming semester.  But some days we do wake up with a fairly open schedule – what do those days look like?

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Monday we started with soccer because E has decided he wants to play goalie with his rec league team.  He’s been avoiding this position for the last several years, so I’m thrilled he is comfortable trying something new.  Since he is playing rec, they only practice once each week for a little over an hour.   We headed out to the soccer field and C and I took turns playing offense trying to score on E.  Once we were tired, C and I took some turns at goal as well.  It was nice to get the physical activity during the morning hours especially given that we had evening commitments. IMG_2421We took a short hike to look at Monarchs. There were a lot fewer than last week.  We pondered whether most of them had migrated away or they prefer evenings instead of morning.  I agreed to check the meadow during my evening walk.  Turns out it was probably a migration thing.

We read a bit about ancient Greece early in the day to prepare for our presentation at Geography Club. We spent some time during the evening watching a documentary from PBS called Sinking Atlantis to supplement what we learned about the ancient Minoans. I learned all sorts of fascinating stuff about the eruption of the volcano Thera and the decline of the Minoans.

We did a bit of grammar and writing.  We try to do a few lessons like that each week.  It’s a bit like mopping floors or cleaning toilets.  It’s that small bit of life that isn’t necessarily fun, but if you keep up with it isn’t that bad either.  The short and easy writing assignment ended up requiring looking up Arctic Terns and Woodpeckers, so C could be sure he was getting his facts right.

Somewhere along the way we had the globe out and there was a comment about the tilt of the earth that concerned me.  I thought perhaps one of the boys wasn’t understanding that the tilt was constant, so one kid was the sun and I circled around him with the globe reviewing the seasons.  Turns out he understood that just fine – what he was wondering was if the earth had the same tilt during ice ages.  Off we went to read about the cycle of the earth’s tilt and the factors that cause ice ages.  We watched some videos of Pangea separating which morphed into catching up on “It’s Okay to Be Smart” videos.

It was FLL day so we spent a couple of hours with the team going over missions and rules and talking about trash.

The remaining hours of the day were spent listening to the current audiobook, some while simultaneously playing computer games like Terraria and Kerbel Space.

So that’s what an interest led day looks like when your morning plan looks like – get exercise, prep for Geography Club, do some writing and maybe math.

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4 thoughts on “Interest Led Learning

  1. My kids are really into Kerbal Space. My oldest play it a lot and has accomplished the most in it. He listen to Scott Manley videos so much he pronounce certain words with a British accent, “mE thane”

    I have been exposed to too many Minion related item recently as I misread Minoans as Minions.

    • My kids crack me up with the British pronunciations. I’ll have to listen for Methane. I hadn’t thought about Minoans looking like Minions, but now that you say it I’m wondering if that’s why I had such a hard time typing it, it never quite looked right.

  2. Lovely monarch pic! I love your conversation about the Earth’s tilt. So cool when you see them putting together what they’ve learned in different places. Often when I’m explaining something at my children’s ‘level’ (I might have had a sneaky look at a workbook school kids their age use), they blow me away teaching me all this stuff they already know about the subject, usually from YouTube and always very ‘real world’ compared with what they ‘should’ know.

    Talking of grammar (you not me) I do like a kindred spirit who knows how to use ‘fewer’. 🙂

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