Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Natural learning & unit studies?

It seems like a bit of a contradiction, but sometimes it works for us.   

Most of the time, Billy just seems to naturally flow from one aspect of learning to another.  Sometimes though he seems to get 'stuck' and even though he's bored, he needs some help to move on.  I've been seeing that lately - he'll complain about the computer game he's playing being "boring" but keep going back to it.  I get the same - especially with the computer.  I know when I start aimlessly surfing the net looking for new blogs to read, new yahoogroups to join, or when I check my mail or Facebook constantly, that its time for a kickstart.  I'm not always able to do that though - I recognise the problem, but often it takes some external event (like being super busy) to drag me away and get me back to doing other things.

So I see my role as providing that external event for Billy.  It's my job as facilitator to engage him in something new.  I offer the opportunity, and he can decide how far he wants to take it. 

On our hike last week, Billy had found and collected some bits of coal (which are now lying all over the loungeroom!), plus we noticed the layers in the rock cuttings we walked through.  So I've gathered together some resources on rocks - I used Lesson Pathways for a starting point for some activities.  Yesterday we read together "The Magic School Bus: Inside the Earth" - even though I have a list of other rock-related activities, I was quite prepared to leave it at that if he wanted. Instead he asked me eagerly "What else are we doing for Rock Week?"  He's decided he likes having special weeks where we learn about a topic, and has looked through the book we have of History hands-on activities, and declared the next week to be Viking Week!

Disclaimer: If you think I'm breaking some "rule" of natural learning, then that's fine - I'll just fall back on my "eclectic" label :)  We do what works for us.


Kylie said...

This is great Kez and I dispise those 'natural learning' rules.

Billy enjoys it and asks for it and as far as I am concerned that is totally right for him.

Good for you to be able to see that and know what is needed.

Anyway, it's your house, your child and you guys make up the rules as you go along. Welld one :)

Butterfly said...

You've hit the nail on the head, doing what works for you, and it sounds like fun!

:) Vanessa

T_Y said...

no way, that's totally natural! I just wish I could get mine to be totally naturally interested in anything! Enjoy rock week!

mum+dad=akira and linkin and elijah said...

Great idea. We've been floundering aimlessly for a bit so I think something like unit studies would stop everyone being sooooo bored!! Oh and I think as long as it is child led/child delighted than you can group it under natural learning.
Meh, labels?!!

jugglingpaynes said...

If he's enjoying the topics and completely into it, isn't that natural learning? :o)

I think it's great to have special weeks. Rock week, Viking week, shark week, don't they all offer something new to stimulate the imagination?

Peace and Laughter!

karisma said...

I love Lesson Pathways! And learning in any form is natural is it not? We do loads of unit studies on and off.

It makes learning in general more fun if one does not have to STOP and do maths or English when learning about Vikings! (Just ask Adem, he could tell you! LOL)

Melissa said...

Has Billy read the Asterix books ? There's a very funny "Asterix and the Vikings" one if you do have Vikings Week, not sure that it would add to his historical knowledge but a lot of fun!