I genuinely hope that you are having the time of your life in your new undertaking! Though I’m sure you already know that each of your children are unique, your past weeks of observation should have brought some added enlightenment. I ask you to note that the ideal curriculum should be your child. The best you can give them is time to pursue their interests. Your role is to help design some simple environments for each individual child. Sprinkle in some family togetherness time and you’re headed for many delightful days.
Perhaps you discovered that one child loves to be outside getting dirty while collecting sticks, rocks and creepy crawlies. Maybe you have a child who engages in questions, about everything – or did you find that music inspires them? Do they like to run and climb or were they more interested in observing a Dandelion or a lady bug? Do you have a daredevil on your hands or one who is more reserved and hesitant? You may have a chef, an engineer, artist or teacher in your midst. Did you give them enough time and opportunity to get a feel for their likes and dislikes? How do they choose to engage when they are really given the freedom to do so?
Just suppose with me that you found a budding astronomer in your family. What might an environment look like for them?
Most definitely a telescope, a map of the night sky, glow in the dark stars and planets to place strategically on bedroom walls and ceilings, (One of my daughters did this years ago and they are still there. Even today my adult children enjoy turning the lights off in her bedroom and watching the stars come out!) They will need lots of books on the subject, time with Mom and Dad to plan some star gazing opportunities, a trip to the local planetarium, attendance at an astronomy club, a subscription to an astronomy magazine, NASA’s website…. Once you get them started, they’ll let you know what comes next!
How about a child who loves to dabble with paintbrushes and all things messy! They will flourish with a sketchbook and a drawer full of water colors, pastels, clay, acrylics and charcoal. Also helpful will be aprons, an old table or desk, rags and a perfect place to display their beautiful creations. Many trips to the library to peruse books full of art, art history and the lives of artists will be cherished as well as field trips to local museums and street fairs. Some fun tutorials on the internet will assist them as they mature in their interest and an adult mentor is invaluable to boost confidence and knowledge.
Environments can be as different as your family’s interests, and those interests can change quickly or intensify over time. Remember to include all kinds of venues. Outdoor environments are favorites with most children. Nature brings out the very best in us. We can climb trees, put our toes in the sand, jump rope, count dandelions, share a picnic, wade in the pond, make mud pies, bird-watch, build a lemonade stand, as well as write in our journals and do our math lesson. Everything is better in the sunshine!
Environments can reach to include a concert, a basketball game, service for a friend, a Lego table, a game of hopscotch or flying kites. Our children will learn something meaningful from every one of these experiences
When we couple a child’s wonder with a parent’s encouragement, learning is the natural outcome – learning that connects to the heart of the child.
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