When we start homeschooling it is easy to focus on the academics, the curriculum, the learning. But learning comes from all sorts of experiences – and the broader those experiences, the better the learning. If we consciously look at our every day family life we will find opportunity to teach our children the lessons they need to know – Relationship with God, people, lifeskills, character, and academic learning.
Family life Activities such as:
–Play time (Free time) – our children’s first classroom is that where they play. Toddlers learn about the world around them and how to relate to people as they play. As our children grow older they continue to learn by playing sports, board games, make-believe games. Our children learn by creating, discovering, and imagining.
–Talking time – talking gives us an opportunity to hear the heart of another person – and in the context of a family this goes both ways: We need to hear our children’s hearts, and they need to hear ours. Talking together will give you so many opportunities to teach into your child’s life.
–Time in Nature – getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life – whether you go bush, or to the water or up a mountain – being out in nature gives the family time to breathe and learn together.
–Driving in the Car – We live 15 minutes out of town so spend a fair bit of time in the car during the week. I use this time to talk, to laugh, to play games. We listen to music, and as the kids have grown older, sometimes we listen to the radio – both give us opportunities to talk.
–Family Celebrations and Family Nights – Whether you are planning a party, or playing board games – whatever you do as a family, there can be learning going on. Remember we want to teach our kids to grow in relationships, life skills, and character as much as we want them to grow in intellectual capacity.
Our kids don’t learn just by doing stuff. When our kids mindlessly copy what we are doing they are just learning to do what we do – they aren’t learning for themselves. A friend once encouraged me to tell my kids the things I was thinking – as I do the housework, I’m making decisions that impact how I work – our kids need to hear this, instead of just instructions telling them what to do. As I’m making something, or cooking something, I’m thinking, making decisions, making alterations – there are reasons why I do things. Our kids need to hear these reasonings – it is as they hear what we are thinking, as they hear why we do what we do, they can start processing the information for themselves. They no longer just mimic what we do, but rather they learn the skills and can apply reason and purpose to the information. When we invite our kids into our world this way, they start to learn to think for themselves as well as to do the tasks we are working on. To be able to do this though we need to understand the importance of talking as we live life with our kids!
Seeing learning value in our lifestyle:
At one point in my homeschool journey I stopped and thought about what I would be doing if I wasn’t homeschooling, I even asked the children what they thought. We came up with quite a list – we would still:
- Play games
- Do Church stuff
- Work on the farm, and around the house
- Have time with friends
- Create things
- Talk about everything
- Read the Bible, by ourselves and together as a family
What would your list look like?
It became obvious that these everyday activities hold learning value and if I was going to last the distance as a homeschool mum I needed to first recognize this and secondly consider these activities as I plan the education of our children. If there truly was learning experiences in these activities I didn’t have to replicate those in our lessons – when I recognised this, I reduced how much ‘homeschooling’ we had to do – and gave us time to enjoy being a family – learning and growing together.
Over to you:
What activity happens in your family where you know learning is happening?
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