The Importance of Child-Driven Play

“The interactions that occur in spontaneous, kid-driven play are different from what happens in organized sports. Each provides a different type of learning, and both are important.” – Ishtar Schwager, Ph.D.

        NSIH wholeheartedly agrees with the statement quoted above.  Since our group’s inception, we have held two meet-ups a month that we call “Hangout Time”.  These very important times are for our children, and group members, to just hangout and interact.  Children of all ages enjoy free play; there are no scheduled activities at these times.  During the summer, we hold these get-togethers at a public park/playground. During the winter months, hold these in group member homes or other, indoor public avenues (such as the Alaska Club Turf Room).  This time is essential to creating a thriving homeschool through real-life socialization experiences and developing our children into well-rounded adults.

Here is why proper socialization through child-driven play is important:

  1. It gives our children time to put into practice, learn, and develop friendship skills and skills in relating to others.  As the quote above states, this is important learning.  To be healthy as children and adults, we must have the skills needed to thrive socially.  These hangout times provide just that!
  2. Many homeschool families are very involved with lessons and extra-curricular activities (such as sports, music lessons, extra classes, etc.).  Many homeschool parents believe that these activities provide enough socialization for their children.  That is not the case because the activities are purpose-driven (children are in karate class to learn karate, children are taking piano lessons to learn to play the piano); time to chat with others for more than a few minutes at a time and to develop friendships is often not encouraged. When the group has discussions, they are about the activity.  These activities leave very little time to develop friendships, but are good ways to make associations with and meet others.  For a truly well rounded education, carefully chosen activities and hangout time are important.
  3. It is good for parents as well as their children.  Parents need to develop friendships with other parents, too, and these NSIH get-togethers provide wonderful opportunities for this!  It is a beautiful thing to see parents connect with each other through independent homeschooling – which is a large part of raising our children.  Many life-enriching friendships have blossomed among member parents and families from these meet-ups! 

        If your family independently home schools in the Fairbanks North Star Borough or surrounding areas, please consider joining our group.  The opportunities we provide to create a well-rounded, thriving homeschool experiences for each family cannot be found elsewhere!  You provide your child’s education and NSIH provides the moral support you need to thrive in doing so!

        Click here to read the rest of Mr. Schwager’s article entitled “Play is Essential to Learning.”  


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