Immersion Learning

I’m always a little uncomfortable with the word “homeschooling”. Even “home education” has lost its appeal…probably because of all the stereotypes associated with those terms.

Then I listened to an episode of The Survival Podcast and, as is often the case, it was exactly what I needed to hear.

The episode was an interview with Ben Hewitt on “unschooling” or as he calls it, “immersion learning“.

You may have heard that term before in the context of learning a second language or training for a new job. Instead of learning the principles and techniques in a vacuum, a person is placed into an environment where they directly apply what they learn in a real-world setting. Then, there is no question of “when will I use this” because…they just used it.

Immersion learning, in a way, is a lot like permaculture. First and foremost is observing interests and learning styles. Next up is engaging in activities that promote critical thinking, research skills and experimentation–skills that naturally lead to the development of good communication and conflict resolution.

All of this, for me, is theoretical. Sure, I’m observing the boys, listening to their interests and trying to use their interests as tool for educating them…but I’m not in the thick of it yet.

That being said, the approach makes sense. Unlike the classroom, there is no set curriculum, no grades, no classes. This may seem counter to that dogma that “kids need structure”. But it’s not. Kids do need structure…but not every kid needs the same type of structure.

If every child has their own style of learning-visual, hands-on, auditory, etc-isn’t it plausible that every child needs a different type of structure in their lives?

The school system does not have the resources to tailor learning and structure styles to every child. With 30 kids in the classroom, teachers need to be the same order and structure. I know this because I’ve experienced it when student teaching in college.

But, a parent can. Even if their child goes to public school and has to follow the set curriculum and rules. Even then, a parent can instill a love of learning and create an environment where their child can thrive and learn in their own specific way.

I’ve seen it. I’ve watched my sister-in-law and brother-in-law come home after work and sit and help their girls with homework…adhering to and explaining why the homework has to be done by the rules of the classroom. Then, explaining or showing them how it is relevant (or not) to real life.

When I worked full-time, I picked my son up from daycare and I was tired from a long day and a long commute. Since he was so young, I wasn’t thinking about school, much less homeschool. It was all I could do to cook dinner and make time to play with him and love on him.

Admittedly, I don’t know every situation a parent or child is in. I only know mine and what I’ve witnessed for those close to me.

My husband and I worked hard to pay off our debt and live within our means so I could be fortunate enough and able to stay at home with our kids. With two kids in my “classroom” I am able to customize the “curriculum” to their needs.

In those areas where I lack experience or knowledge, I can supplement by using others like my husband, family, friends, etc. to help teach both the kids and me something new. Something new…everyday.

I’m not going to call what I do and plan to do “homeschool” or even “home education” because we are not always going to be learning in the home. We are going to be immersing ourselves in the world around us and making what we learn relevant to everyday life.

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One response to “Immersion Learning

  1. Pingback: Curriculum Research | a pinch of homestead

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