As I was sorting pictures into albums on my computer this evening I found myself trying to figure out if certain pictures belonged in the “Homeschooling” folder or in the “Family” folder. Isn’t it funny how so many people look at their day as having “school hours” and normal/non-school hours. For our family we consider the 8am – 12noon our school time, though I often will leave science, social studies or art for the afternoon. I’ve been known to give an oral test in the evening before dinner and sometimes we review things out loud on the weekends. (Children who go to school have homework in the evenings, so I figure me doing this isn’t all that different.) Learning doesn’t stop just because the school books are closed and the pencils are put away. Our children read or look at books, draw pictures and play card games on the weekends regularly. This is where I think the line gets a bit blurry or “grey” so to speak between normal life and a school day.
I’ve mentioned this before, but one of my favorite books is “Learning All the Time” by John Holt. There is no switch to turn off learning simply because a child isn’t at school or “doing school” as it is sometimes called when children are educated at home. I believe in giving children numerous and varied opportunities to explore and learn on their own. Guide them only when truly needed or when they ask questions. Don’t underestimate their ability to understand things.
So, that snack that your four year old was sorting and counting… was that math time or just snack time? When your older child is playing “Hot Cross Buns” on the keyboard over and over and over again… is that music time or is he just playing because he enjoys playing? Why does it have to be one or the other? I think it’s BOTH. I want them to enjoy learning and exploring new things. That’s what childhood is all about right?
So, when the line gets blurry between school-time and normal life then I say GREAT! That means the children are learning and hopefully they are enjoying it.