When I started reading Playful Learning, I expected to read about a homeschooling mother or a teacher implementing new techniques into her classroom. I was very surprised to find out that this book is written from the perspective of a mother whose child goes to school, but supplements that learning with an almost unschooling philosophy. In the description of the book it states:
Current research demonstrates that children learn most effectively when they are actively engaged and enjoying themselves. Ironically, a lot of the conditions for learning that are deemed the most desirable can more readily be practiced at home than in school. With a little bit of information and forethought, parents can play a pivotal role in the cognitive and creative development of their children.
Mariah Bruehl, a former educator turned stay-at-home mom, wrote this book to encourage other parents to engage their children in fun, interactive learning experiences- whether or not they go to traditional school.
At first I didn’t get the point of sending your child to school when you were already doing these great things at home. However, as I read the book my prejudice lightened and I was able to truly enjoy the author’s love for those experiences she was able to share with her children.
The book explains what “playful learning” is and how to foster it in your home. I love the emphasis on the benefits of learning together as a family. As Mariah explains, the family dynamic improves, discussions occur, your children learn to become independent and confident thinkers, the connection from home to school strengthens, and as a family you are reintroduced to the wonder of exploring and learning.
After a brief introduction, the book is divided into 7 parts- each detailing activities and experiences you can use to learn together. The focus is not on a schedule set of learning activities, but on allowing these to form from natural situations your children encounter.
For example, to encourage your children to become confident authors and writers, Mariah suggests setting up a writing center complete with pens, paper, envelopes, and everything a young author would need.
The book is full of pictures and activities that will get parents’ brains flowing with creative ways to introduce math, science, arts, reading, and even global awareness into “play time”.
This book would be a great read for a parent who is thinking about homeschooling or who wants to encourage a love for learning in their child. It gives confidence to natural discovery and curiosity while providing solid ideas on how to guide those moments to their best advantage.
Playful Learning offers fun and engaging activities that promote reading, writing, math, science, art, music, multiculturalism, and social and environmental development. Through easy to implement, hands-on projects parents can engage their children in fun and creative ways that encourage learning and impart the joy of discovery. Read more
Article by Aadel Bussinger
Aadel has been married to her career Army man for 11 years and they have 2 daughters and a freshly made son. She is a homeschooling mom, volunteer, and online college student. Her hobbies include cooking, organic gardening, sewing, and crocheting. She blogs sporadically at These Temporary Tents.
Aadel has written 82 awesome articles for Natural Family Today.
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