Interest Led Learning

We have been homeschooling for four years now, and I’m always sad to see a mom grow frustrated with an uninterested learner.

I read many blogs where moms shared how they neglected to involve their children’s interests during school time.  Each blog shared their discouragement with homeschooling.  Homeschooling isn’t the problem – it’s lack of interest led learning and we can avoid that!

This year my son jumped into football and every day school lessons started to drag as he wanted to throw the football, talk football, watch football, eat and sleep football.  So what is a mom to do? Adapt!

I incorporated football into our lessons.

Vocabulary – Look up every team mascot (Patriot, Bronco, Raiders -know what they are and mean.  There are some interesting ones).

Math – Create word problems. “If the Packers score 3 touchdowns, 4 field goals, and 1 safety – how many points do they have?” or “The Steelers beat the Cowboys 21-14, by how many points did they win?” Older students … “The Broncos play at home Sunday at 1pm, what time is that at the New England Patriots stadium?”

Geography – Learn all the cities and states that are home to the football teams.

Science – Learn all the animal mascots and something special about each one! Learn different biomes.

History – Where was the first football game played? Who was the first quarterback? Different rules of football.

Thankfully the football season ended, but rather than be done with that phase, I’m going to ask “What do you want to learn about now?” and create fun in our classroom.

Recently I attended an Apologia facebook party.  Someone asked Jeannie Fulbright (science curriculum writer) a question about her son’s interest.  She had purchased a different curriculum than what he wanted to read.  Jeannie encouraged that mom to put down the curriculum and pick up on her son’s interest!

What are your children’s interests … are you including them in your homeschool lessons?

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  1. Nobody ever told me that the things I was most interested in and best at were gifts from God (music, crafts/​artsy things), even though they were not officially part of the formal Reading-‘Riting-‘Rithmatic curriculum. Instead, I was taught to put those interests aside, follow the leader and that God would ‘equip’ me for whatever He wanted me to do, as He did for Moses. At age 65, I feel like I missed out on a lot because it has taken me this long to figure out that those interests he gave me were the ‘equipping’ I had been promised and should have developed. Instead I spent all these years doing what I thought I was supposed to do instead of pursuing the gifts He had already given me.

    I’m glad that teaching methods have changed since I was in school and, while the basics are the foundation of and necessary to our education (witness most folks’ inability to use words and punctuation or make change properly these days), ignoring a child’s God-given interests and abilities is just wrong. Acknowledging and incorporating those interests/gifts into the child’s education is the way to go, and is God-honoring, I believe. God bless the homeschoolers and other teachers who recognize this!

  2. What a great idea! I really like that you’ve spelled out specifics for how to make this an awesome unit.

  3. I LOVE this post! That is exactly the way I homeschool and my children are so much happier AND they learn more. The other benefit is that the learning is almost always directly related to life so they will have something they can USE when they are finished with their formal education. Of course, I think education never ends, but that’s another story! 🙂

  4. Bob and weave, bob and weave. 🙂

    It’s all about adapting, am I right?

  5. I love this. I think I have the same son 🙂 His research paper is on Christians in the NFL!

  6. Love it! Learning to adapt to my daughter’s interests is an ongoing challenge, but we’re all much happier with “school” when I manage it…

  7. Audrey Wells says:

    This is exactly the kind of education I would like my children to have, my husband in agreeance of course. He was home schooled, I was not and before our kids reach that age I would like to read up on different styles and such. My husband suggested The Heart of Homeschooling, any other suggestions?

  8. I can’t imagine not centering all our learning around our interests. We never have any fights about learning or boredom in the house either! The eclectic meanderings of our interests help bring us so many connections that we would never get if we were following a curriculum designed by someone else. When my kids really are excited and want to learn something, they retain it. It’s not something they need to learn for a test (something we never do anyway :)) Thanks for writing this post and spreading this important message.

  9. I love that everything revolves around football – how perfect! I especially love that he’s learning about geography through the homes of the football teams – what a great way to discover cities and states. Using a large map to pinpoint their whereabouts in relation to your home will really give him perspective!

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