The best education is one that allows for personal exploration and inspires lifelong learning. It is never about getting through textbooks and scoring well on test. That is the difference between school and education. To create a love of learning and ignite that fire to want to learn more, at least part of education needs to be child-led.
Chasing your child’s dreams, questions, and passions can sound like a lofty order. How do you plan for that? The best way to have a child-led education, that is also mom friendly, is to stock your homeschool classroom for impromptu lessons. Then you can follow your child where he leads you. Here’s a list to get your started.
An easy way to inspire learning, and be ready for impromptu, child-led lessons is to have tools that teach. Tools give the child the power to explore. They also make it easy to turn a question into an investigation. Some tools that you should have on hand are:
- Magnifying Glass
- Butterfly nets
- Measuring tape
- Scale or balance
- Basic hand tools (hammer, screwdriver, shovel, rake)
- Insect habitat
- Chemistry glassware (or something that you can use for experiments that require mixing)
- Rock Identification Kit
Buying quality supplies can be expensive. However, if you focus on a core of supplies you will use over and over again, it can actually save money and space. Instead of buying thousands of cheap markers that dry out easily. Purchase higher end primary color set and teach children how to blend the colors. It’s important to also teach them how to care for the supplies. Quality supplies will make impromptu lessons more enjoyable and successful. Some suggested items include:
- Watercolor paints (Get the primary colors in tubes)
- Sketching pad and watercolor paper
- Sketching pencils
- Professional grade erasers
- Professional marker set
- A palette
- High quality brushes (round, fine, and flat)
- Modeling beeswax
Before there was Siri and Alexa, there were books. Finding answers in books is still a necessary skill. Guidebooks empower children to find their own answers. They also never need charging and are naturally child proof. Keeping a collection of guide books is like an instant impromptu lesson arsenal. Here’s some suggestions to build your own library:
- Field guides (birds, flowers, shells, mammals, lizards, etc.)
- How to books
- Visual dictionaries
- Anatomy books
- Foraging/weed guides
- Survival skills books
- Dictionary and thesaurus (including other languages)
Homeschool Unit Studies
All of these tools also make it easy to build inspiring unit study curriculum. Sometimes, though, coming up with a topic-based lesson on the fly isn’t possible. That is why using premade mini-unit studies can be a wonderful way to have structured child-led learning whenever you want. Here are a few sites that provide homeschool unit studies ready to go. Never be a afraid to raid you library and tool arsenal, and create your own, though.
- The Homeschool Mom has a collection of ready made unit studies for free for subscribers. You also receive access to new ones each month.
- Homeschool Helper Online, also, has an extensive list of short unit studies that are free. They are organized by topic, so it is easy to find what you need.
- Techie Homeschool Mom specializes in open and go unit studies. Everything you need is included, except for suggested additional reading. There are links to videos, articles, and demonstration so your child can simply dive in. No need to search for materials.
How do you incorporate impromptu, child-led learning?
Need some fresh ideas on how to make your own homeschool unit studies? Here are 5 steps on how to create homeschool unit studies the DIY way!