Overview: Children are born learners. As adults, we need to learn how to step back and let the natural learning take place.
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I love the changing of the seasons. The evenings are becoming cooler and we can stay outside much longer than we can in the humid summer months.
On one of the first nights of fall, we were on the trampoline. After jumping for a while, we laid down and looked up at the sky.
Sicily wanted to know why the sky was moving. So I asked, “what do you think?”
Her response was, “It’s going to rain.”
I asked, “How do you know?”
“The wind is blowing.”
“How do you know?”
She looked up at the sky which was a small circle lined with tree branches above our heads. She eventually shrugged her shoulders.
I asked one final question, “What clues do you see that tells you the wind is blowing?”
Again she said, “It’s going to rain.”
And within a few minutes, it began to rain.
Now I don’t know if she has some sort of internal weather forecast or not, but the deep fascination with the clouds moving and noticing the wind was blowing, gave me a clue to something she was interested in.
So the next day, I set out some books on weather, and we experimented with the fan to discover clues that tell us the wind is blowing.
This is the beauty of natural learning. You never know where the learning is going to take you.
But you don’t have to spend hours planning & prepping for every little interest or question your child asks.
In fact, from all my teaching experience plus exploring with my own children, I’ve come up with the 4 pillars you need to have in place that make natural learning easy, fun, and practical.
What is Natural Learning?
Natural learning is the belief that all children are capable, motivated learners as long as the adults follow their unique learning timeline. Here at Homegrown Learning, we help you create a learning lifestyle by combining together a child’s natural curiosity with open-ended learning experiences.
A child’s unique learning timeline is determined by the experiences we give our children.
Why Choose Natural Learning?
By tapping into each child’s innate curiosity, we nurture their natural desire to dive deeply into academic endeavors, seek answers to their questions, and master important skills.
By patiently waiting until your child is motivated to learn the important skills, you can ensure that your child will learn quicker, have a deeper understanding of the skill, and be able to apply it in real-world experiences with ease.
The 4 Pillars of Natural Learning
So yes, there is more to natural learning than just simply asking them every morning what they want to learn about.
But with these 4 pillars, your days become peaceful and full of learning.
Natural Learning Pillar #1: A Relaxed Routine
You don’t need a fancy, color-coded schedule for each day of the week.
Okay, not going to lie. I have a color-coded schedule on my fridge. BUT it’s a very flexible schedule.
Actually, I don’t like using the word schedule. Even though I’ve planned out the times for specific things, it’s more of a routine.
I use the color-coded schedule as a guide, but in the day-to-day of things, I follow my children’s lead and transition to new things when they are ready.
But our routine isn’t just something I came up with on the top of my head. It follows my youngest child’s natural daily rhythm.
Natural Learning Pillar #2: An Encouraging Environment
Natural learning doesn’t mean you have to give up all control over your child’s learning.
Having an encouraging environment is your secret weapon to getting your kids to learn the skills YOU want them to learn without having to force or pressure them.
The things you place in their environment and the experiences you give them is what shapes their learning timeline and lets them know what’s important for them to learn.
When your child grows up in an encouraging environment, learning happens naturally. The experiences and resources you provide sparks interest. Then it’s your job to guide them on the learning journey by providing other resources, materials, and asking open-ended questions that expand their curiosities.
Natural Learning Pillar #3: Simple Child-Led Experiences
You don’t need to print a million worksheets or printables. You don’t need to go buy fancy learning materials.
In order to fully learn a concept/skill, a child needs to be motivated and have a genuine reason for learning. Without those two things, a child will graze through the learning activities “just to get it done.”
Once your environment is set up, you patiently wait for your child to become motivated and ready to learn. At that point, your child will flourish and the learning will happen naturally. That’s when you’ll see the true love for and engagement in learning that you’ve been waiting for.
Natural Learning Pillar #4: Trust the Process
And the hardest part of the whole natural learning approach…
You have to trust!
Trust that your child is learning and knows exactly what needs to be known at this very moment.
Don’t worry about what needs to be learned tomorrow. Be in this moment.
As long as you’re providing the right environment and plenty of time to explore, your child WILL learn what you want them to learn in their own time.
With natural learning, you control the environment.
The environment controls what your child learns.
Your child controls when and how they learn.
Here at Homegrown Learning, we call this a learning lifestyle.
Related: Our Approach to Learning
These 4 pillars to natural learning make your days peaceful. Your child focuses and builds independence. And most importantly, your child learns exactly what needs to be learned.
Traditional Education Standards Are Failing 65% of Students
It's Time To Do Something About That!
Download our free guide on the developmentally appropriate, natural learning standards. Use the research-based guidelines to help you understand what and when your child should be learning specific skills, so you can get your child’s homeschool plan completed in 30 minutes without spending hours researching curriculum.