I decided on intuitive parenting with my first child and ditched all the parenting books, on how to train your child to pee, eat or sleep. Personally, I found these books and milestones very stressful and was overwhelmed by it all and decided not to read anymore so I cuddled my child next to me to sleep and did what was right for us instead of trying to keep up with other people’s expectations of what my child should be doing and his milestones.
I had no idea Home Education/Schooling existed and to my delight, there was an intuitive way to educate my child too; it’s known as Self-directed learning. And that’s when it all came together for us and here we are still happily immersed into how the Earth began or his beautiful fascination with STEM Sisters and inspirational women of the past – he’s just turned 6.
Though I tend to use different ways of educating my child, a bit from every style depending on the activities. Structured, semi structured, self led, the list goes on.
My favourite method is self directed learning and my child is a natural, self starter so it was easier to go with the flow from the start of our adventures together. He took the lead. And I’m grateful for the day decided to ‘let go‘ of thinking what everyone else was doing around us or asking “how are you going to teach him if you’re not a teacher”.
I drew a blank too and looked inward and found I already had the answers, I too had taught myself on many occasions and enjoyed it much more than being taught by someone with less passion for a subject than myself, so why would a child not benefit from this self-directed learning style? How different would he be if he wasn’t spoon fed everything?
First I took out the word ‘teach’ from our vocabulary and mind set and the word ‘work’ or anything that created suggestions of school, milestones and deadlines, I personally need some semi structure as I’m not just a parent and home educator, I also work part time and running a home, so it had to work without stress, so that I can switch into my work without working late in to the evening after cleaning up the house once he was asleep. Or I prioritise what is actually achievable without overwhelm, as life is not that simple.
You become the facilitator, not the teacher. Though it's my whole responsibility as a parent to now educate my child, I figured that the whole reason we learn at school or anywhere else is to learn to enjoy learning, not just fill our brains with irrelevant facts but to let the interests take us somewhere, to pursue our excitement and abilities to follow a path living life to the fullest and be happy. Trusting my child that he will learn what he needs to, and enjoy learning without limitations like a bell in the playground or class to stop an activity just as he’s immersed into something fully. He will learn to love learning and experience so much.
If you’re new to this concept, it will be hard to let go of the feeling that you need an itinerary for every day. You may even fear it at first because you won’t have prepared anything and you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed with the feelings of trying to control or guide the child to something specific and that’s all OK, just acknowledge it, it’s part of the process of releasing how you’ve been programmed the way you were taught and how to think. Now it’s time to trust the process and follow your child’s interests fully and be taken on an adventure, which in their minds is what they wish to learn and I truly believe you will enjoy it too.
I sometimes ask my Son “What do you want to know about?” The list is usually 3 things and they’re really good questions. Like “who controls the weather” or “why are there 2
6 letters in the alphabet?” I leave the list around so we can check in with where we are going with it and it’s totally OK not to get time to answer any of those questions too and be side tracked by new interests. I leave the questions written on a hand painted piece of upcycled card. Self directed learning is endless and constantly ebbs and flows.
What do you want to know about?
Try asking your child what they would like to find out about each week. Add craft suggestions, and books, but always ask them the question first, like how do we find out about this? And let them show you if they don’t, then show them suggestions, and they soon follow this same method the next week and the week after as they learn to become the lead through the process. You’ll look back and sigh relief as they naturally find passion for learning and searching for resources, it will be initiated by them.
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ABOUT GABY from GABITAT EMPORIUM
Hi I’m Gaby from Gabitat Emporium.
I am a home educator to my little boy who guided us to take this route with self led learning when he was a baby. I am a huge advocate of play and self led learning.