My philosophy toward homeschooling at this age was always just -- let them play, let them learn from their environment... give them social time, exposure to new places & things, etc. and they will learn everything they need to learn. Maybe at some point (age 6? 7?) I'd start to teach academics (reading, math, etc.) if he was interested, slowly, at his pace/engagement level.
I feel so thrown off lately though. He wants more than just this open-ended explore the world thing. He asks me every day to talk to him about things he doesn't know. He says he wants to learn new things. Specifically he wants to learn academics, and other things too.
I feel like he is looking for some kind of curriculum or formal schooling (though of course he has no context for those concepts). I'm struggling with how to implement something like that into our lives and integrate it into my own educational philosophies.
For background, he needs 24/7 interaction -- he is virtually unable to play on his own, has severe anxiety, selective mutism, some social/emotional issues, SPD, obsessions, can be very destructive... He plays well with very close friends (ones he's seen multiple times a week for 1-2 years now) but will not interact with any other children. He's in therapy & we are in the process of getting a full eval for him due to the emotional/behavioral issues etc. He is also very smart, far advanced in many areas, seems to have an eidetic memory, and just learns incredibly quickly (usually after a single exposure). He has a high drive to understand things & comprehends concepts/does things that apparently most kids don't until at least age 7 or 8 (or so I'm told).
OK so that background is to explain a bit why I can't just create an enriching environment & let him go to town. He will not engage with anything unless I (or a friend or a trusted adult) is also engaging in it with him. He doesn't like kid-centered activities, he just wants to do 'adult' things. He doesn't play. He likes to observe and he likes very clear direction, but also is very opinionated and stubborn so it's hard not to get frustrated while interacting with him since he is asking for such disparate things from me.
I don't know if I'm making sense here. What I want (ideally) is to just have him learn from everything around him. And he does, but he wants to learn more things, new things, and I don't know how to meet this need without using a curriculum, and I don't know how to use a curriculum when he is so all over the map with his interests & abilities. Not to mention I really shy away from structured learning in the first place. I feel like homeschooling/unschooling could be ideal for him (and we really don't have any other option anyway) but at the moment it is not meeting his needs, and certainly not my own need for sanity lol.
So now that I've rambled on incoherently... any feedback? Maybe I don't have a concise question, just need to talk this through with others...