One of the things that I love most about homeschooling (and there are so many things to love!) is the freedom to wander freely down various paths of inquiry, following interests and taking time to dwell where enthusiasm is sparked.
Last week, we read the story of Jesus healing the paralytic. That, of course, raised the question, "What is a paralytic?" So, instead of just reading on, we stopped and camped there for a while. We discussed nerves, the spine, spinal injuries, and the different types of spinal injuries resulting in different degrees of paralysis. It was a great time of discussion, of cashing in on a moment of interest, of being able to delve further without having to move a huge group of children along a lesson plan.
This happens all the time - and it's great!
This month I am trying to read lots of stories about the Pilgrims, the Mayflower voyage, and the American settlements. Our son is learning a lot about all the above - ships, ocean voyages, old-time illnesses, English-Native American interactions, Pilgrim life, etc. - it is awesome. And at the same time, he has become passionately interested in Native American life, so we are able to take a side-tour into that subject and check out lots of books on that subject. He is having a marvelous time, and it's a great time of learning. (It's also a great time of him trying to convince me to let him wander around in his underwear, so that he can be a "real Indian," but that's another issue.)
And here's the thing - none of it is predictable. I can't plan ahead for this. All of our son's interests have taken me completely by surprise. It's just a matter of discovering what new subject has sparked a new passion, and milking that passion for all it's worth in order to encourage learning - and more importantly, the love of learning.
I am learning so much about children, about education, about homeschooling - and the ability to follow learning passions in an unhurried and unstructured ways is one of the biggest blessings of this educational method. I'm loving it.