Learning Through Our Everyday Life
Early in my homeschooling journey I had a friend who was homeschooled during her school years tell me- "Life is school." I didn't fully understand her at the time, but as we have traveled along this path, I have discovered the truth of that statement. All we do, our everyday life, is school. And that real life learning is usually more real, more authentic, and more meaningful than anything we get from a book.
We do some traditional school. We have some workbooks although I prefer living books to read. We keep a school schedule that starts roughly around 9:30 in the morning and ends sometime around 2:00 in the afternoon for most of the kids. But I've noticed that much of our learning- mine included!- happens when I haven't really planned it. It's real life learning- learning through living.
Here are some times lately when real learning has taken place in our everyday life even when I didn't plan on it.
Geocaching: We started this new hobby after a class at our library. If you don't know what it is, you can read my post here. Charles is the one who especially enjoys caching with me. Several times we've started out looking for a cache and learned quite a bit. Even though I've lived in this same city all of my life, we found a marker describing how our city got its name and telling some history about the city.
Museum: Our local nature museum is a great place to go on a field trip. Sometimes I'm tempted to have too much of an agenda. The kids actually learn more when I don't. This past week we headed to the museum primarily for the older kids to see a planetarium show with their group of science friends. While we were there looking around the younger girls stumbled on to a whole collection of birds and bird items in a case in the animal room. I hadn't even thought to have them look for that even though we've been learning about birds. They were very interested- especially Rachel. She spent quite a while looking through the things and talking about what we've been learning.
Cooking: Most of my kids enjoy cooking. Even though it is sometimes difficult to let go of a little control and tolerate a mess in my kitchen, they learn quite a bit from cooking. Sometimes they learn things by accident-like the time when Kathryne was younger and switched the salt and sugar measurements in her chocolate chip cookies!
Game playing: Lessons learned from game playing are often overlooked. Playing games teaches critical thinking, turn taking, good sportsmanship, and more. Some computer games teach pretty advanced skills. Charles had been a Minecraft fan for quite a while before I really realized how much math he was learning while he played. Once I realized the potential, I let him build several scale models for history.
It's clear that leaning can happen anytime anywhere. Life truly is school. The key thing is to be aware of these opportunities and to talk, talk, talk. They more we're talking with our kids, the more they can learn- and the more we can learn- as we share life together.