A new learning year has started for us in our homelearning program, and it’s time for me to submit my children’s Learning Plans (LPs). The point of the LP is supposedly to allow children to experience the process of goal-setting. They can experience this without such a program, of course, but these are some of the hoops we jump through to get the good stuff our program has to offer. Nevertheless, the kids enjoy being asked questions about what they want to learn in the upcoming months – they always appreciate adults taking an interest in what they’re up to. And I myself enjoy the process, as it gives me a snapshot of my children’s interests at the time (the LP is very flexible and can be modified at any time throughout the learning year).
This year especially I am really pleased with the LP I have completed thus far (for Daughter). Our program changed the learning category structure this year and I really like it. Learning categories are now broken down into four main groupings: body, heart, mind, and soul. This structure recognizes that learning is holistic, and happens in all aspects of life. Body encompasses sports, physical activity, nutrition and health. Heart is about relationships, not just with family and friends, but with other humans around the world. Thus, it encompasses social studies, anthropology, history, etc. Mind is numeracy, language, and science. Soul is creativity (art, crafting, etc) and spirituality (religion, ethics, etc). It’s always been a challenge for me (and other unschoolers) to break learning down into categories. This new structure makes that process seem far less artificial and more intuitive.
I have had a few discussions with Daughter about what she wants to learn this year and what activities she would like to do. My daughter has always been very interested in science, and also loves to read. But up until recently she has not shown much interest in history, social studies, geography, or other topics listed in our program’s roster. I wasn’t all that worried about it, but it was disconcerting to find I had so little to write about under those subject headings (I suppose this is one of the downsides of going with a government-funded program, even an unschooling-friendly one such as ours). However, this year as I was filling out her LP I was very pleased to realize how much she has branched out in her learning. Putting it all together in the LP made it more “visible” to me, and I felt a great sense of satisfaction that the process was unfolding as it should.
Here are some of the subjects Daughter is most passionate about these days:
– marine biology, with particular emphasis on cetaceans
– periodic table of the elements
– making miniature sculptures from polymer clay
– painting and drawing techniques
– Greek mythology
– medieval stories (classic children’s stories)