Something funny happens when you start to think about learning in an out-of-the-box way. You start to realize that you don’t always need books and curriculum to learn new things. You find that learning through life and creativity is the most genuine and beautiful.
I’ll never forget when a little girl told me, in amazement, that a hummingbird was the smallest bird in the world. I asked her if she had learned about that in her kindergarten class.
She gave me a strange look and said: “No, I learned it when I was outside with my parents.”
That hummingbird conversation got me thinking about how much learning actually takes place through life itself. Yes, I am an unschooling parent, but until that moment I had not really made the distinguished decision that one type of learning was richer than the other. Yet, there is a difference.
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Why is learning through life and creativity completely legit?
There is no limit to what can be learned.
When you consider how much can be learned through life and creativity, there is no limit. Each new topic can branch off into a dozen other topics to be discovered and learned about.
When children have the entire world to learn from, nothing is off limits. Not only can a child learn about how electricity works, but he or she can also recreate it, write about it and read more about it.
This can lead to more complex questions and discoveries.
In our home, we often read books on nature and then pair them with a child-led, creative activity. Sometimes the activity is an art-based recreation of what we have read, a nature-based simulation of something, like this beaver dam, or something that helps us to enjoy nature more, like this DIY bird feeder.
While those are all nature-based activities, we do change things up as the kids. That’s just a great jumping off point for us and what my children enjoy the most.
Kids become passionate about what they find interesting.
When kids get to use life and creativity as their educational foundation, they become extremely passionate about their learning. This passion will lead them to have a deeper understanding of a topic and will continue to build a love of learning.
The little girl who learned about hummingbirds with her parents also went on to check out books from the library and wrote poetry about the hummingbirds. Her family bought hummingbird feeders, and now she watches them from her back porch.
Kids need to be passionate about things to really soak up the information. And, honestly, it isn’t really about the information, it’s about LOVING to learn and knowing HOW to learn.
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Kids have more time to learn about what they are interested in.
Having a curriculum calendar, or a scope and sequence can do a few things if you’re not careful. They can make you stressed out when you fall behind, they can limit what your kids are able to learn, and they can cut the time short when your kids are truly into something.
Imagine this: you find a hobby you love. You really want to keep learning more about it, but according to the calendar (that someone else has developed for you), you have to move on to the next one before you complete the first. You don’t love that hobby as much, though, and really wish you could go back to the first one so you could really dig deep and do what you truly enjoy.
Sound familiar? This is similar to what our kids experience when they are tied to a certain curriculum or calendar.
When children learn through life and their own creativity, they have time to really pursue their passions. They can answer the questions that they have on a topic because they are able to research and read about what they want to know.
With more time to learn, the possibility of a child mastering a topic increases substantially. Mastery isn’t the only benefit– your kids will have a desire to learn more… and more… and more!
Kids will have a love for learning when they get to use life and creativity to lead them.
Learning shouldn’t be a chore.
Learning shouldn’t be something that happens within a certain set of pages, or a certain set of walls.
Learning doesn’t only happen during certain times of the year.
Though it seems a bit cliche to say it, learning is EVERYWHERE.
Of course, there are times when things have to be read and classes taken to learn certain subjects, but learning can and should come to life. This is when kids really start to love learning.
When kids can touch and see things in real life, and then ask questions and answer them through their own research, they are experiencing learning at the highest level possible.
The same goes for when kids use their creative ideas to propel their learning. It gives them a rich experience, where learning becomes passion, not a chore.
When kids see learning as something that is fun and interesting, they will begin to love the process of learning. They will want to figure out the “whys” and the “hows,” the “whens” and the “whats” behind unknown topics.
Final thoughts on learning through life and creativity.
Giving your child the ability to learn through life and creativity is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. Kids do not need a formal lesson attached to every subject in order for them to gain an understanding.
In fact, formal lessons can take the joy out of learning. Just ask kids what their favorite thing to do is. I bet that it is NOT listening to someone drone on and on about something they could discover on their own.
Kids enjoy unstructured discovery that happens on a daily basis.
They enjoy the ability and the trust to learn on their own, without someone telling them what they should be learning, and at what pace.
Learning through life and creativity means that your kids are being fueled by a love for learning. It means they crave learning and yearn for more. This should be the ultimate goal in educating our children.
They deserve it.
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