Many times, in my experience, learning cannot be planned.
It's not something that happens automatically when a worksheet or an assignment is completed.
This is something I think many people understand.
Often times, I plan and offer experiences to my children, but what and how they learn from it is up to them. The idea is to offer a wide range of experiences for them to 'dine' on, like a buffet. I know the important ones (to them) will stick.
I suppose one could say, that is the faith I have in my children and how they learn. It has developed over time, but been strengthened by the experiences of many parents before me, who I have 'met' through so many magazine articles and books and blogs and websites. (You can view some of them here).
I usually offer learning experiences through 'table time'. It provides a set-aside time for me to focus on the kids. There is usually one-on-one time for each child and while I sometimes choose the activity or books, there is always flexibility written into this practice. For instance, I ask for the kids' feedback on which primary song we recently learned they want to sing. I ask for prayer, and there's always a volunteer, and when I give the choice for a Christmas craft or another project, we do what the kids choose. Having 'table time' this way is enjoyable for all (usually) and ensures I do get to spend time with them (in between my work around the house and their pursuits). The beauty in 'table time' is that it draws us all back together and it also can flow to fit into any shape I/we need it to be.
Making pipe cleaner candy canes.
But so much of what the children learn happens beyond the kitchen table. I take cues from sources like this page at Home Education Magazine when I need a reminder of the many ways there are to learn.
Will children do interesting things if given the freedom? Will they learn? Yes.
Baby and her brother...
he is playing Starfall.com's A,B,C's and sounding out words...
She is playing with the rice bags! Discovering textures, weights, gravity.....
This is a serendipitous learning moment and they happen all the time!
One of the best things about learning at our own pace is the TIME! It's abundant!
Big Bro shows me what he can spell!
As one of my favorite authors/teachers, Charlotte Mason, said, "The question is not, how much does the youth know when he has finished his education but how much does he care? And about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? And, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?"
Surveying the view of Shoshone Falls in Idaho
while on a family trip last May.