I was raised by an amazing mother. Possibly my favorite of her carefully-thought-out parenting theories is the concept of home as a Learning Laboratory, designed to inspire and facilitate learning. Our home was full of music, books, toys, math manipulatives, and art supplies – accessible for us to use in whatever ways we deemed best. She never tried to “trick” us into learning; opportunities were offered, and there was plenty of room for us to explore in ways that she didn’t personally find interesting.
I think it’s an idea that needs to be shared, so I’m starting a new weekly post on this blog. Every Monday I’ll share one way in which intrinsically motivated, self-directed learning and exploration is happening in our home. I’m hoping that you will also link up with activities going on in your homes, so that I can feature your ideas as well. I’m a big believer in lifelong learning, so posts do not have to be focused on childhood learning. Any family-appropriate content is very welcome! You can link to a new post or an old one, but please do link back here, either with a text link or using the button (the code is in my left sidebar).
Yesterday I watched my kids learn, explore, and teach through our summer gardening project. Lily found some tomatoes on our tomato plant:
She wanted to pick them, but couldn’t reach them. Emma explained to Lily that those tomatoes weren’t ripe yet anyway. So, instead of picking the unripe tomatoes, Emma and Lily collaborated on a fairy home in one pot:
While Johnny built a second home nearby:
A simple afternoon outdoors, but so much to learn! All three children explored textures and the laws of physics. They learned that heavy rocks push down plush piles of grass, and sticks only stand up straight if they are well set in soil. Lily learned about where tomatoes come from, and Emma taught her a little bit about how tomatoes grow and ripen – reinforcing her own knowledge in the process. And I want to learn what makes the leaves at the bottom of the plant in Emma and Lily’s pot turn yellow and wither up – does anyone know?
What hands-on learning do you love?