There are a variety of ways to homeschool. With each family an individual and unique one, there are just as many ways that homeschooling can play out. Some families prefer high structure and lots of routine. Others lean towards unschooling, where kids guide their own learning based on their personal interests.
Whatever style of homeschooling you prefer, free learning periods are something you can work into your day or week in order to provide your child with the opportunity to take initiative for their own education.
If you are an unschooler, this will likely fall into line with your schooling methods. Free learning periods work for some families so well that they may decide to make it more of a full-time way of life. When you give your child the freedom to explore their interests and provide any necessary materials to do so, they can find joy in learning about the things they desire to.
When your child expresses an interest in a certain subject or topic, find ways to make info available to them. Your child will enjoy digging for info, but you need to be sure that it is available for them to find. Teach them how to find books in the library, and how to do a proper internet search.
Look up the info for yourself and find places that you can take them on field trips. Let your child experience the joy of seeking knowledge and quenching that thirst through their perseverance. Let them explore, but make it accessible enough that they do not grow weary in looking for it.
Provide Necessary Materials
Have a collection of materials on hand for your child to record what they learn. This could be as simple as pencils, crayons, and blank paper. Or it could be as complicated as a fully stocked closet or room with things such as art supplies, blank paper books of various sizes and an encyclopedia set. Encourage your child to use their supplies daily as they search for and learn about their topic of choice.
Set Subject Guidelines
If you have a certain subject you want your child to explore, let the child know and then give them free rein as far as how they choose to research it. Let them put in the effort on how they are going to learn, so that the project will become their own.
Set Time Guidelines
Perhaps you may want to let your child choose the topic on their own. If you have other subjects during the day that need to be completed, leave a particular time slot that is set aside for their free learning period. This can be the time each day when they can look forward to finding info on their topic of choice.
Free learning periods are a great answer to a parent’s desire for their child to begin to take ownership for their own education. It is a way to teach your child that learning is life-long and that they must take initiative if they want to learn throughout life. Try working free learning periods into your homeschool, and test them out for yourself.