Turning Everyday Life into a Learning Experience 

How Marina uses Noah’s natural curiosity to guide his interest-driven education

When COVID hit in the beginning of 2020, Marina and her husband Robert decided it was the perfect opportunity to try home education with their nine-year-old son Noah. Now a year into homeschooling, they have integrated Noah’s interests into every aspect of their home education journey, including cross-provincial field trips, horseback riding, Minecraft architecture, arts projects, nature schools, MEL Chemistry and even stock market math.

“Homeschooling gives us freedom,” Marina says. “Freedom to choose curriculum, freedom to pursue his interests, freedom to explore and try new things – and what we’ve found is that, by giving Noah choice, he becomes really engaged in his learning.”

Marina’s primary focus is on creating a learning experience that goes beyond a classroom-style setting. When Noah learned about dinosaurs and fossils, she packed up their school for the day and headed out to Drum Heller to see the badlands and fossils and climb the hoodoos in person.

“After our day out, I gave Noah a research project on whichever prehistoric animal was interesting to him,” Marina says. “He picked this really obscure, short-necked plesiosaur and researched away for his paper!”

Noah’s dad Robert works in finance, so they’ve incorporated his area of expertise into Noah’s education as well. In September, Noah chose three stocks to follow – Disney, Nintendo and Hasbro – and then he and his dad purchased stock in those companies and have followed those stocks throughout the year.

“He’s super hands-on and loves computers, so we’ve actually used Minecraft a lot,” Marina explains. “He’s done Minecraft engineering, game design, coding, and even architecture! He learned about six different periods in architecture and then created a build in Minecraft each week that represented the architectural styles of that time period.”

Noah is an active kid who would normally be enrolled in soccer throughout the school year, but with soccer cancelled, they set out to find new fun and educational social activities. They landed on a weekly homeschool horseback riding class through Clip Clop in Bearspaw. 

“It has been phenomenal, because they learn both how to ride the horse, as well as how to take care of it,” Marina says, “With COVID shutting down his usual sports, this gave us the chance to try something new – something different. It’s a highlight for him every week.”

Noah takes part in Nature schools and the Rediscover Play Outdoor Adventures – experiences that have been integral for him in connecting with other kids. At home, he does a myriad of arts and science projects like acrylic art pouring and Virtual Reality science lessons.

“Noah is a huge science kid, and the main focus of our science this year is MEL Chemistry and Tinker Crate because that’s what he chose,” Marina says. “He’s doing full-fledged chemistry experiments that give him hands-on experiences, paired with monthly live VR classes.”

Noah loves all things physical, so whether it’s biking, soccer, trampolining, swimming, running, hiking, skating, or 

scootering, the family tries to get as much outdoor activity time together as they can. They’ve also enjoyed the ability to learn and travel while restrictions allow.

“We took a trip to Kelowna in September and we just took school on the road,” Marina says. “He did school at the beach, and we toured an apple orchard, and he learned about the farm and the apples, and then he did a report about the apple farm and his favourite apple at the farm.”

Marina says the whole home education experience has taught them to challenge the typical understanding of what education really looks like, and to dive deeper than the curriculum itself. She says the best part about homeschooling has been their time together as a family.

“Homeschooling has given us consistency and stability through these crazy COVID times,” Marina says. “It’s been a huge learning curve, but the homeschool community is really supportive. When my own kid is saying, ‘I’m not going back to school till college,’ I guess something must be going right.”

They look forward to continuing their homeschooling journey through BCS@Home in the coming school year, as they continue to integrate Noah’s inquiry-based learning with his education.

– 30 – 

By Micah Jansen

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