My 5-year-old is seriously into geography! When I plan out homeschooling for my kindergartener, I definitely use the invitation to play approach, where I leave out materials that I’d like him to play with and generally, he will find them on his own and engage with them.
This works great in that he is generally using learning tools and manipulatives and while he is doing so, I get some one-on-one time to work with my older son on more complex projects.
Child-Led Learning: Invitation to Play
Invitation to play can start with anything. For example, I consider this placement an invitation to play, because I just set it out one day and he got really into it. He insisted on it when it was time to eat and started asking a ton of questions. Eventually, he memorized all of the states and capitals without any direction.
Once I knew that this was an interest of his, we started to build on it, but providing tools and manipulatives that he could draw on. Okay, I did buy these because they are super cool looking and since we homeschool in our dining room, I love homeschool tools that double as decor. Also, the puzzles are made of chalk and we found it more fun to label them than to actually put them together.
Child-Led Curriculum Is Possible
We don’t do many workbooks around here because just the word “workbook” makes everyone eyeroll and groan, but this is a sticker book – completely different! Also, it says Pre-K up, but I definitely think this could go up to 4th or 5th grade.
Something about the map being really massive makes it enticing to kids. I swear, if it was a table puzzle we would have done it like twice, but this puzzle seems to always be out and it’s amazing that we haven’t lost Nebraska under the coffee table. All the pieces are still in the box!
We love playing with these at home. My 8-year-old does not like to be drilled or tested on subjects, but he loves to test us, so during dinner he uses the flashcards on us and he’s learning the capitols while he’s teaching us. My 5-year-old thinks the names of the states and capitols are hilarious and he has mastered almost all of them!
Developing a Love of Learning
This is a great example of taking a child’s interest and providing scaffolding that supports that child-led learning approach to homeschooling. In each instance here, I did not push him to engage with the tools. Instead, I left them out as an invitation to play and he brought them to my attention.