I would love to homeschool, but for many reasons I can’t do it this year. I work and my husband just isn’t ready to give up the extra income. Since I can’t homeschool, I try to do a lot of homeschool-esque activities with my kids.
I see school as free daycare. I don’t think my kids will get all the education they need at school. That’s not saying anything negative about teachers. I’m saying there’s not enough time or individual instruction for a kid to get an exemplary education in any traditional school setting. The parents have to be involved and they have to supplement at home whatever is being done in the classroom. Some parents say they don’t have time for this. I say we need to re-evaluate the busy-ness of our lives and make adjustments for our kids’ sake. But that’s another blog post. Even if we’re moderately busy, we can do some things with our children that help them be more successful at school and more well rounded in general.
Here’s an example of the kind of stuff we do. On Sunday morning we went for a hike at the State Park near our house. We brought along a big Ziploc bag and collected different kinds of leaves off the ground. Earlier this week we checked out a field guide to trees from the library. The plan was to identify the leaves.
My kids like hiking because we do it fairly often. They call it going on a nature walk. We always look for wildlife even if it’s little stuff like dragonflies and caterpillars. They like to stop and throw pine cones in the lake. We never hurry. We take our time and enjoy being outside.
They had little plastic turtles for fifty cents at the visitor center so I let Hunter get a turtle for his troll garden. Elle picked two polished rocks for twenty five cents each. She put them in her fairy garden. Their gardens are basically planters with little plants and lots of ‘treasures.’ They are happy with little stuff like this. Just goes to show you don’t have to spend a ton of money.
Later that night Elle and I took out each leaf and flipped through the book to figure out which tree it came from. Then I wrote the names of each tree and she copied them. She can identify all her letters but she needs to practice writing them neatly on lined paper. I’m a big fan of copy work. I like the classical homeschool model and they do a lot of it.
This is what I love about homeschool. We took a walk in the woods and got some exercise, but then we turned it into a handwriting lesson and a science project. The integration of all these subjects into daily life is fabulous. It doesn’t create this dichotomy between school and real life. Learning IS real life. It’s always happening and it creates interesting, interested people who understand that the world is an exciting, wonder-filled place waiting for us to dive in and discover.