What is self-initiated learning?

Self-initiated learning takes place when a child finds a topic and starts to learn all about it. Given the proper support and backing, this child could keep learning about a topic beyond their expected knowledge for their age, because learning about something you are interested in, is not difficult. 

Most of the excitement, most of the learning and most of the lessons in our family are all learnt through self-initiated play and discovery. This is how our children are wired. This is how our children respond. We are here to support and aid in that learning.

The most valuable learning seems to occur when the child initiates it themselves. 

Homeschooling also means that they can continue along a path of learning for how ever long they need without interruption.

But we have also found that self-initiated learning sometimes needs a backing in order to take place. For example, Mr. 5 is obsessed with the human body and our Universe. He knows most of the major bones in our human body. (Know where your Maxilla is? He does.) But he wouldn’t have had that if he wasn’t first shown a book on the subject. He wouldn’t have learnt all he could about blackholes, galaxies and types of planets outside of our solar system, if we didn’t stare at them first at night and just talk about them.

Mr. 5 has never known much of history. This week, we began a simple conversation of what history is, and archeology. This was Monday. Today (Thursday), he and Miss 3 planned to dig up our mud patch to re-enact an archeological find. (They found lots of dead “fossilised” snail shells.) Mr. 5 also made up a new song:

Ar-che-o-lo-gy! We dig dig dig.
Ar-che-o-lo-gy! We find find find.
Ar-che-o-lo-gy! We dig dig dig.
Ar-che-o-lo-gy! It’s fun fun fun.

Now yes, do we get Mr. 5 and Miss 3 to learn letters, phonics, maths and reading? Yes. I understand the apparent dichotomy of wanting self-initiated learning then also getting your children to sit down and do these things. By the way, it only takes 45 mins a day.

We want them to be able to read, write and understand basic maths. We want them to also have a fantastic broad general knowledge of the world and what it offers (history, geography and science). Because our belief, is that for our family, once they have a handle of the basic skills, when they open that door to the world (or it’s been open for them), the world is truly their oyster. The world opens up. The learning can take flight. And they can truly follow their dreams and fully discover what makes them tick and what can make them happy. 

Isn’t that what we all want for our children?