Relaxed homeschooling, for us, doesn’t mean we don’t sit down and do “school work”. It just means that we also “think outside the classroom” and text books and worksheets are tools, while our education extends far beyond them.
A lifestyle of learning seems to me not only more natural and comprehensive, but easier to implement as a busy mom.
Mary Hood said: “God didn’t create classrooms, He created families.”
The sensibility in that statement meets me as a mom. Mothers are often overwhelmed by the task of homeschooling because they are trying to run both a family and a school.
What if much of the education of children just happened naturally inside family life?
Especially for little ones, there are many things that can be taught in casual conversation, multi-tasking during a chore, etc.
A few random things we do:
- Sing learning songs together during chores or play time. We’ve been singing the “Months of the Year Song”. We also enjoy singing Scripture this way as well.
- LISTEN. God bestowed the wonderful gift of curiosity into children which, if we are available and ready, can be an important key to knowledge. Hear their questions and be ready to help them find answers, even if you plant seeds by giving them an overview of what you know. I said the word “electricity” yesterday, and my 4-year-old asked, “Who’s ‘Tricity’ “? She wasn’t really interested in electricity, but she listened intently as I explained how it was responsible for turning on things.
- Ask questions. Whatever is in front of us, I try to get into the habit of asking, “Do you know why ……?”
- Do math. Math is everywhere and it makes better sense when it is taught in the context of real life. Even the rote stuff–multiplication tables, for example, can be practiced while we fold laundry or do dishes together. It just takes remembering to “redeem the time”.
- Make good use of writing opportunities. A card or thank-you note makes a great use of time and energy and can double as language, writing and grammar. It makes better sense to have a reason for writing when possible. After all, the only reason grammar, spelling and language matter is so we can communicate our thoughts to others.
Sometimes I just need to revisit the reasons we educate in the first place. Learning can take many forms. Don’t be afraid to tailor it to your season of life, not only giving yourself a break if you can’t duplicate a classroom, but possibly even finding that it’s better that way.
What are some of your “real-life” learning strategies?
Check out the great, practical tips and learn more about a lifestyle of learning in my Ebook, Think Outside the Classroom!