Pinterest, a social media platform founded in 2009, allows users to visually share, discover and catalog new interests. I think of it as a visual bookmarking system. When you find something you’d like to save, you “pin” it to a common theme area called a “board.” You can browse/follow other people who share your interests and also “pin” what they’ve found onto your “boards.” Pins can be photos, videos, graphics and even articles (although this works best if there’s a photo on the article’s page.)
I think of Pinterest as an Unschooler’s Dream!
I joined Pinterest when it was still really new in 2011. You had to be invited by someone who already had an account – it was somewhat of a cumbersome process! But by then, my kids were grown. Immediately, I was nostalgic for the days of combing through hard-copy catalogs that had come by mail – always on the lookout for just the right resource. Back in the 1990s, most of the catalog products weren’t online, so we would wait for the mail or pass the catalogs among us at park days or our monthly Mom’s Night Out. Little did we know, someone was about to design something we would have adored – PINTEREST!
If you’re still only using Pinterest for recipes and interior design ideas – you’re barely scratching the surface!
Just as parents in our support group shared ideas, resources and websites at local coffeeshops and park days, unschooling moms are sharing resources from atoms to Zentangles on Pinterest! If your child has an interest, typing in a couple of keywords can give you access to so many options other people have discovered. And you’re not limited to only the other moms you know personally. You can search by theme, and find all kinds of things. The entire internet is accessible to you – other people have done their research and are happy to share!
The 3 Step How-To
So how do you make this work to your best advantage?
- Create Pinterest accounts. Create one for yourself and, with your kids, create accounts for each child.
- Start identifying a variety of interests each child has. Get creative! You can have as many as you like. Each should be their own “Board” (in Pinterest lingo)
- Sharing boards. Once your child has his/her boards set up, he can invite you to pin onto that too. This will give them access to anything you find when you’re out resource-hunting on the internet.
Sometimes people have asked why not simply have your child use your account. Here are a few reasons I think it’s a good idea for kids to have their own account:
- They can learn more about how social media works.
- They can easily add boards of their own if this turns into a tool they enjoy using.
- They can create their own network of people to share pins.
At first, kids may find Pinterest to be a “mom” kind of thing – maybe. But it’s an easy visual way to keep track of the hundreds (thousands?) of ideas that cross our paths as we’re out on the web.
If we’re going to have so many wonderful ideas coming at us at lightening speed, we need to have a way to manage them! Certainly trying to remember it all isn’t going to work. Plus, another advantage is that you can pin something that you’d like to explore, but haven’t had time to yet. Then it can sit in your board and wait until you have time to really peruse the website.
From a mom perspective, Pinterest removes the pressure of “Come look now!” Even when it’s exciting, it can be interrupting – to you or to them! This way each person can check out the topic when they’re actually in the mood to look. And it allows you to continue to find cool resources even after their interest fades a little – it will be there if and when that curiosity pops up again.
Unschooling Mom2Mom currently has 66 Pinterest boards with nearly 2,000 pins!
So, if you’re just starting, go check these out and pin those that interest you.