From Natural Parenting to Natural Learning

Families are drawn to homeschooling for a variety of reasons, but for many families who believe in the ideals of "natural parenting," ours included, homeschooling is an obvious extension of this chosen lifestyle. Natural parenting is a broad term that encompasses many parenting practices aimed at being as natural, ecologically sustainable, and holistic as possible. It includes practices such as natural birth and breastfeeding, organic and sustainable food and consumption habits, cloth diapering or elimination communication, homeopathic and holistic family care, attachment parenting, and natural learning.

It is not surprising that as a growing number of new parents embraces natural parenting, these parents eventually become inspired by the idea of natural learning and homeschooling. Our early closeness and connection with our children helps us to develop positive, trusting relationships with each other. As natural parents, we are deeply aware of our children's needs, strengths, and limitations, and we use this knowledge to guide our parenting approach in the early years. As our children grow, we notice their innate gifts and passions unfold and we follow their lead, their unrelenting curiosity, as they learn and discover.

Most significantly, natural parenting focuses on trust: trust in our own powerful parenting instincts and abilities, and trust in our children to lead us, to show us what they need to learn and grow and reveal their true talents. Homeschooling extends this natural parenting and natural learning process beyond infancy and toddlerhood. It builds family trust and strengthens family relationships, and it grants children the uninterrupted freedom to learn and grow in their own, natural, intended way.

As an important extension of natural parenting, many natural learning families also place significant emphasis on learning from, growing in, and caring for the natural world. Through ecologically sustainable homemaking practices and extensive time spent outdoors, in nature, natural learning families prioritize their critical connection to the natural world. Homeschooling offers the gift of vast amounts of free, unstructured, exploratory time to learn from nature.

In Last Child in the Woods, author Richard Louv states: "The boundaries of children's lives are growing ever tighter." A commitment to natural learning and time spent connecting our children to the earth, loosens these boundaries, unlocks our children's spirit, and widens our trust in nature's wisdom.