Originally Posted by healthy momma
If you have a few minutes to share in a bit more detail what you do I would love to learn a bit more.
Thinking back to when my kids were younger and their interests were less specific and defined, what I did was for a month or two I would add things to a list. I did lists on the fridge door; nowadays I would use an app
I considered this to be an informal Inventory of Interests; at SelfDesign they call it a MindMap and draw it out graphically. I've seen some pretty effective MindMaps, but that format never really appealed to my kids so we stuck with a list. Anything that came up in the course of life that my child either expressed an overt desire to explore, or showed with his behaviour and curiosity that he had a strong affinity for, I would jot that down. The list would be full of wide-ranging things like paragliding, multiplication, baby farm animals, pencil crayons, clay, hiking, parties, motorcycles, Ancient Greece, food preparation, rock climbing ... all sorts of things. I made no effort to sort or prune the list down. It all went there.
Then, after I had amassed a pretty big collection of possible interests, we'd go out for a one-on-one café date to talk about what and how my child wanted to learn, how we might go about investigating possibilities and how it would make sense to allocate our time and money in support of those interests and goals. Some of the interests on my list would get discarded immediately, for instance if my kid said "Huh? No, I'm not interested in that, how did you get that idea?" or if we both agreed that, say, motorcycle racing would be best pursued when the child was older. Some new ideas might be added that I wasn't aware of. But having the list helped us have a starting point; otherwise my kids would likely say "I dunno" when asked what they wanted to explore ... it's far too open-ended a question for most kids.
Some interests would have obvious paths open for pursuing them. "I want to sign up for fall soccer" or "Every day after lunch you should read Harry Potter to me" would be straightforward to implement. Other ideas might take a bit of further research, or some phone calls, or a visit to a program, or ordering or looking over some materials to see if they appeal. We'd plan to do that over the next week or so and then have a follow-up Learning Plan meeting. At that point we'd revise our actual approach to some of the things that weren't so straightforward, and we might talk a little more in depth about whether any structure was wanted ... a schedule, parental reminders, parental assistance in some way, or none of these.
At that point I'd write down what we were collaboratively envisioning. And then we'd plan to get together and look over the plan again in two or three months to discuss what changes we wanted to make. In our case the written version of the plan got "spun" a little into a form that our umbrella DL programs appreciated. Meaning, we organized it all around a school-like model and made mention any time we had academic-type resources "available." The phrase "will continue to explore ___ according to interests and inclinations" pops up fairly frequently in the Learning Plan documents I submit and pretty much means "we're unschooling and we prefer not to make any plans in this area."
Here's a link to a learning plan for Fiona in her KG year
, all organized and polished up in edu-speak for our umbrella program. And here's her plan five years later