Child-Led Learning Benefits Your Kids (& You) Will Love

Homeschooling can feel like a whirlwind of lesson plans, routines, and expectations, so sometimes we need a way to breathe new life into our day-to-day. 

No matter your homeschool method of preference, leaning into child-led learning can breathe new life into your homeschool.

Whether you’re just beginning your homeschool, or have been homeschooling for years…

Before I share the 4 ways child-led learning benefits the homeschool kiddo (& therefore, also you), I want to ask you three questions.

Three questions to ask when you’d like to lean into child-led learning…

Question 1: What Sparks Their Curiosity? 🌍✨
  • What topics or activities light up your child’s eyes with excitement and interest?
  • How can you incorporate those passions into your homeschooling approach?
Question 2: How Do They Learn Best? 🎓🔍
  • What learning styles do your children exhibit? (e.g., hands-on, visual, auditory)
  • How can you tailor your teaching methods to align with their preferred styles?
Question 3: What Unique Paths Can You Explore? 🚀🔓
  • Are there unconventional resources or experiences that align with their interests? (e.g., online resources, outdoor exploration, creative projects)
  • How can you step outside the traditional curriculum to encourage independent learning journeys?

child-led learning benefits: unleash curiosity & learning

Can I tell you a story from my homeschool?

Once upon a time, I was super frustrated with how my homeschool was going. I had a lot to accomplish on my to-do list, and my children’s complaining, bickering, agitation, and fidgetiness were getting in my way of accomplishing my amazing plans for them!

C’mon kids, I’ve got three hour-long readalouds for you today, we’ve got an 8-3 day planned, science experiments, history lessons, spelling and grammar, and Latin and French (and so much more, I KID you not!) plus piano, voice, horseback riding, and violin.

Kids, did you not hear me ring the bell? 

It’s time to do school! And my 8, 6, 3-year-old, and 8-month-old followed me into the designated homeschool room space. (Okay, the 8-month-old was probably military crawling, or I was carrying him in).

They all came. Begrudgingly.

With complaining, bickering, agitation, and fidgetiness.

So THAT ended after 3-4 years. (Which, according to many of my veteran homeschool peers is WAYYYY longer than most parents hold out! You’re welcome, Universe, I can be willful.)

But since you know I encourage homeschool parents to lean into child-led learning, I’ll fast forward four years into my homeschool journey and I learned I HAD to let go of my preconceived notions, my wildly unrealistic expectations, and my excessive planning, because I had children to educate, and they weren’t learning best from my approach!

child-led learning benefits: personalize their educational path

These are the 4 ways child-led learning benefits your homeschool kids:

Child-Led Learning Benefit #1: Unleashes Curiosity and Deep Learning

You know those moments when your child’s eyes light up with curiosity? That is a spark waiting to ignite! We’ve all been there, trying to finish a lesson or read aloud, or helping a kiddo finally figure out how to spell a word, or finally figuring out how to multiply fractions, hoping they’ll absorb it like sponges so we can finally move on.  But guess what? Most learning doesn’t happen that way.  When kids are genuinely interested, their minds become sponges all on their own. Child-led learning taps into their natural curiosity and engages them in a way that no traditional learning approach can.  (Even with my most academic kiddos, if my kids aren’t curious or engaged, they’re not learning

They’re just being obedient to boredom. 

But if they are curious and engaged, watch out, because they can learn (almost) anything they want to).

Here’s a Thought: What if I told you that your child’s interests can become the cornerstone of their education?

Whether it’s British history, zoology, or underwater creatures, their passions hold the key to a world of learning. 

Think about it: British history can inspire literature, writing, and even math lessons.

Zoology can lead to vocabulary-building and science experiments. One year, one of my girls used Titanic history as a lighthouse to everything she did. (Lighthouse, get it? Okay, that might not be funny)

Let your kids’ interests guide you and watch their enthusiasm and knowledge soar.

little boy playing with plastic shovel in backyard

Child-Led Learning Benefit #2: Personalize the Path

Did you know that everyone learns differently? Just like each child has a unique personality, they also have distinct learning styles.

Some kids love hands-on experiences, while others thrive in more structured environments. By getting to know your child’s learning preferences, you can tailor your approach to suit them best.  It’s all about embracing strengths and getting out of their way so they can learn the way that works for them. (Not coincidentally, when I’m playing games, everyone (except my youngest) knows that I can’t be “told the directions” to a game. I just don’t learn that way! But show me during the game, and I’m golden. Well, mostly.)

Child-Led Learning Benefit #3: Think Outside the Box

We don’t have to stay in an educational box; oh, we can (& many homeschoolers do!) but we can break free from the traditional mold of formal discussions, strict subject adherence, and rigid lesson plans. 

Embrace Minecraft, Lego, and making mud patties in the backyard. Discover how watching a YouTube video or exploring the outdoors can be just as educational as any workbook.  Learning isn’t confined to traditional learning methods; it’s a dynamic process that happens everywhere and in unexpected ways. Seriously, just watch each of your kids this week, write everything they do in a notebook (don’t let them know you’re doing it, and don’t record the things you’re prescribing) and you’ll discover that they ARE learning so much of their lives).

Child-Led Learning Benefit #4: Unlock the Magic of Unschooled Learning

Imagine a world where learning isn’t a task to be completed but a lifelong play and curiosity-based adventure.

Embrace unschooling practices that allow your child’s interests to guide their education, whether you sign up for unschooling or not. 

(FYI I firmly believe you shouldn’t ascribe to a particular method; rather, you should ascribe to your child–oh, and by the way, you can keep your homeschool method, but just use it as a tool, not a raison d’etre.)

So, let your kids live their homeschool lives on purpose.

child-led learning benefits: think outside the educational box

“Children do not need to be made to learn about the world or shown how. They want to learn, and they know how.”

John Holt

Let go of control and witness the magic that happens when your child takes more of the reins of their education.

(Also, it is SO much easier when you do it!)

When you do this they are more likely to live their lives on purpose as they do deep dives into interesting things, and you’ll discover they’re learning! With curiosity and play.

So are you ready to reimagine your homeschool adventure: to lean into child-led learning and watch your children’s curiosity flourish, their interests ignite, and their enjoyment of learning deepen?

Embracing child-led learning is about nurturing your child’s innate curiosity and individuality, fostering a love for learning that goes beyond textbooks. By aligning their interests with personalized approaches, you’ll empower them to thrive in their educational journey with passion and purpose.

If you’d like to join me in the Reimagine Your Homeschool Life group coaching program, you’ll do a deep dive on how to practically lean into child-led learning in your homeschool, no matter what method you generally aspire to.

Finally, if you’re a homeschool mama who would like to get regular encouragement and inspiration, join me here.

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Teresa Wiedrick

I help overwhelmed homeschool mamas shed what’s not working in their homeschool & life, so they can show up authentically, purposefully, and confidently in their homeschool & life.

Call to Adventure by Kevin MacLeod