Enchanted Learning

“If parents and teachers take a child’s interests seriously, opportunities to create meaningful connections to all kinds of subjects erupt into view” Julie Bogart

The Brave Learner: Finding Everyday Magic in Homeschool, Learning and Life

I recently began reading Julie Bogart’s, The Brave Learner: Finding Everyday Magic in Homeschool, Learning and Life. The book is wonderfully motivating if you are interested in creating a learning environment based on wonder, curiosity and joy. I am not a homeschooler but I am a parent who enjoys supporting my children’s interests and providing a home environment that allows them to follow their interests. A desire to provide an enchanted education is not only for homeschoolers. I would say that there are many educators working tirelessly to create moments where magic happens in the classrooms and in lessons. I am a former teacher who tried to provide an enchanted classroom experience when I taught kindergarten, 1st and second grade students. Those of us who work with children feel joy and gratitude when learning happens naturally and when we see kids persist in challenging moments but those moment often remain a mystery. How do they come about? How can we get them to happen more often?

This child asked to draw the red fox in his habitat after reading a short nonfiction book.

We are all challenged by how to go about creating an environment, whether in the home or in a classroom setting, that allows children the freedom to pursue their interests and to learn content matter through experiences. In The Brave Learner, Julie provides a guide for helping us bring enchantment into our homes and more importantly helps us learn to be open to moments of enchantment. The book has lot of suggestions and examples of how we can go about helping our kids explore their interests. I look forward to trying her suggestions for after school activities that invite engagement and for adventures to be had during spring and summer breaks from school.

This lovely response to reading came about because the idea and desire to draw came from the child not from the adult. I only set out paper and oil pastels.

Last week, four of us were home sick with the flu. Towards the end of the week we were recovering and the two kids that had been home all week began “working” side by side at a narrow table in the living room. They worked peacefully and focused for a couple hours. I am not sure what exactly they did but I did mention how lovely it was to see them together. They asked to be homeschooled. A part of me wanted to say, “yes, of course, you don’t have to back to school on Monday.” We do a lot of learning at home and it is relaxed and natural but I think that if I were to homeschool we might loose that relaxed approach. While it is a lovely thought to be home with kids, cooperating and learning naturally, I know that in reality it takes a lot of preparation, thoughtfulness and patience to choose to educate your kids at home.

I am thankful we have a local Montessori school where children are encouraged to take on research in whatever subject or theme interests them. The access to a wonderful learning environment that meets the needs of my kids is why I don’t homeschool. I think it is important to continue to support my kid’s interests at home and to use resources that reflect the interest of the students I tutor so they can have more meaningful learning experiences. Providing an enchanted education is a worthy pursuit for all educators.

For more information about Julie Bogart check out The Homeschool Alliance.

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