Natural learning

As a homeschooling Mom, one of my greatest joys is watching my children learn new things. Right now we don’t follow any particular curriculum, have any set ‘school work’ for each day, or follow any term timetables. Instead, we are adopting a relaxed, holistic, natural learning method. Whilst there are merits with a classroom style approach to education, I believe that the best learning happens in every day life, as we pursue our interests and talents, as we master necessary skills, and as we encounter people with a passion for different topics. I think this is especially true for young children, who find it so hard to sit still and listen to lessons. As the kids get older I will re-evaluate our style, but for now natural learning is working for us.

So what does this natural learning method involve, and is it effective? The short answers are ‘a willing heart’ and ‘yes’. For the longer answers, read on 🙂

It’s hard to say what a ‘typical’ day looks like at our house, in terms of education, but here are some things that happen fairly often:

  • Top: a graphic design project Prince and I created
    Middle: ‘Shark’ from ‘WordWorld’, by Prince age 5
    Bottom: Copywork by Princess, age 3

    Reading.  All kinds of books are read in our house. So far today, for example, the kids have read (or listened to me read) ‘The Life of Jesus’, ‘Usborne First Illustrated Maths Dictionary‘, ‘The Story of the Olympics‘, various sections from ‘Animal Kingdom’, ‘The Big Dark’, ‘My Daddy is a Giant’ and ‘Lines and Squares’. Out of all these the only one I initiated was the poem, ‘Lines and Squares’. This reading has provided learning in the following ‘school’ topics: English (reading), religious education, maths, English literature, history and geography.

  • Drawing.  My kids are prolific drawers! They have usually drawn a few pictures each before I am even out of bed.  They take great care and devote a lot of time to their pictures. This, obviously, covers the topic of ‘art’, but we also find that their drawings inspires learning about other topics, such as geography. Today Prince also helped me create the graphics for his birthday invitation in Adobe Illustrator, which provided some ICT learning.
  • Dancing and music.  Princess especially likes to dance. She is inspired by her cousin, and also loves to choreograph her own dances and put on shows. We have a variety of classical music we love to listen to, and our favourites are Vivaldi, Mozart and Andrea Bocelli. With this we cover some P.E., music, and performing arts.
  • Questions and conversations.  Prince is at that inquisitive age, where it’s practically impossible to keep him from learning! He’s always asking questions about things, and having conversations with Daddy or me about topics which interest him. Sometimes we expand upon this by looking up more information in a reference book (our dictionary or atlas), or searching on the internet. A lot of educational topics are covered this way.
  • Writing.  Both kids like to make their own books, written and illustrated. Prince is developing quite a collection. They also write messages on their pictures, write out the ‘verse of the day’, and today Prince wrote out names on his birthday party invitations. We use these opportunities to learn spelling, grammar, handwriting, composition, creative writing, etc.

There are so many other opportunities that come up ever day – it’s impossible to even remember them all, let alone list them! We do field trips, cooking, painting, gardening, counting, telling the time, astronomy, patterns, imaginary play, construction, French, life skills, science, environmental awareness, health and nutrition, and much more.

In summary, natural learning is a fun, holistic approach to eduction. The key to making it work is, in my opinion, an open, willing mind and dedication. When we take time to see and take hold of the learning opportunities in every activity we can inspire our children to learn and seek out knowledge through their everyday life.

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16 Comments

  1. April 12, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    This sounds awesome. How old are your kids?

  2. April 12, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Our kid’s work always bring a high smile on our face and makes our heart jump for joy. Beautiful art works.

    • DeneM said,

      April 18, 2012 at 7:33 am

      Thank you! Children’s art is so special 🙂

  3. Ellie said,

    April 16, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    This post has been really enlightening in many ways, but I just had a few queries. Firstly, my main worry with homeschooling is qualifications – were you homeschooled yourself? And what is your stance on this; my experience of homeschooling is that it makes formal qualifications harder to attain, but this may not also be your experience.
    Also, I was wondering where subjects like math and science factor in? Obviously creativity is key and something that I believe is missing from formal education, but how do you currently balance creative pursuits and things like math, and do you plan on changing this balance as your children grow?
    Sorry for all the questions and thanks for another interesting post!

    • DeneM said,

      April 18, 2012 at 7:31 am

      Hi Ellie,

      Thanks for your comments, and I’m so glad you have found my posts interesting! Don’t be sorry for asking questions – it is encouraging to me that you are thinking about what I wrote 🙂 Here are some answers:

      – Yes, I was homeschooled myself, though only from age 11 onward.
      – I have not found homeschooling to make formal qualifications any harder. In the UK it is easy to still write GCSEs as an external candidate, take correspondence courses, do alternative qualifications (like ACE, though personally I’m not a fan of that program), and get into University on other merits.
      – Maths and science can be learned in so many ways. When being homeschooled during my high school years I used a combination of books, correspondence courses, and family who had knowledge in these areas. I got good grades in my maths and human biology GCSEs, as well as my human biology A level. I went on to get into Brunel university on an Occupational Therapy course (I was doing well in this, but left to join the OU when I got pregnant).
      – The balance of creativity and formal learning is something each family has to work out for themselves. I don’t know how my current balance will change as my kids grow – it depends on what I feel they need at the time. I think it is good to keep an open mind, and also to try not to feel the pressure of doing things in a way someone tells you is right – you need to pray and do it how you believe is right.

  4. May 1, 2012 at 11:46 am

    […] part of our natural learning approach to homeschooling, most of our ‘schooling’ comes in the form of fun activities. […]

  5. May 3, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    […] the bread and not have the lesson’!), do incredible crafts creations – all in one day! See  https://writingonthedoorposts.com/2012/04/12/natural-learning/ for someone else’s typical day that involves only natural learning but their kids are […]

  6. May 3, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    I have posted and linked to your blog saying how inadequate you guys make me feel!! See http://homeschoolingmiddleeast.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/month-3-of-learning-at-home-is-this-really-how-its-meant-to-be-is-so-much-fun-ok-or-an-educational-disaster/
    I would love to hear your comments and receive your advice! I hope you get some hits from my blog! Best wishes!

  7. July 31, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    […] have mentioned before that we take a natural learning approach to homeschooling our kids. Delight-directed learning is another term I like to use to […]

  8. Britney Bumgardner said,

    October 10, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    i really like andrea bocelli because he is such a very talented person. ‘;”.’

    Most recently released short article on our homepage
    http://www.prettygoddess.com

  9. July 3, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    […] my Prince turning SEVEN (shock, disbelief) I have felt the need to take my relaxed, interest-led, natural learning method a notch up the formality rating. Whilst I still absolutely believe in the benefits and […]

  10. February 6, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    […] year-round. Learning is a life-time occupation.  Having a natural learning approach means we don’t really ever ‘break’ from schooling.  Rather, we are […]

  11. July 17, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    […] as we see learning as something to be enjoyed and developed year round. Part of our philosophy of a natural home education is to make the most of learning opportunities as they present themselves. And opportunities, you […]

  12. February 2, 2015 at 9:16 am

    […] for the first time  It is always interesting to chart a full day of activity at home. We like to run our days pretty naturally, but over time we have gradually imposed a little structure. Nothing rigid. Nothing formal. […]

  13. March 28, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    […] the years our homeschool life has gradually grown from a very free, natural learning style to a more structured approach. This has suited our family well, and helped us continue to […]


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