Taking the "School" Out of Homeschool

I don't know why we use the term homeSCHOOL sometimes.  I have been finding more and more when we take the word "school" out of our day, we actually learn much more.

I spoke last year at  the Heart of the Matter Online conference about Education as an Atmosphere.  I want my home to be a continuous atmosphere of learning.  Not a 9am -3pm time of enforced drilling of facts.

A typical day in a homeschool looks like LIFE.  It can range from anything from:

  • a day of research on a topic of the child's choice
  • an afternoon spent listening to Mozart while painting
  • a day in the yard observing an ant hill, a robin's next, or a bee hive
  • a morning gardening, while learning all about compost, seeds, and zone planting
  • writing creative stories, plays, or poetry
  • a construction project in the home. complete with preiminary plans, blueprints, and the execution of the plan with the proper tools
  • cooking up an authentic cultural feast after weeks spent reading about that country
  • analyzing the nutritional content of your pantry
  • grocery store math, while grocery shopping
  • a day out to see a play or visit a local museum
  • a visit to the local nursing home
  • writing a letter to your sponsor child in Africa
  • designing buildings on the computer
  • helping with the finances by watching dad pay bills and budget (or do taxes!)
  • chores, chores and more chores...all life skills!
  • figuring out the how to build rockets, legos in 3D, and more
  • raising chickens
  • spending the day at work with dad as a mini-intern
  • learning all about how day to day life works by being immersed in it and not a classroom!
The list is truly endless.

Life is a classroom. Life is what we are preparing our children for. What better way to learn that with the hands on lesson of life?

I have found lately when I loosen the structure {not throw it away}, the kids are more free to pursue their interests and that is when they truly learn.

When I don't see a separation between learning and life...they thrive...

This is a video I love of my boys learning in nature....


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Shannon said...

Great post. I just wish I could make math feel less schoolish! I know we could do some real life applications, but I feel like the workbooks have to stay and it is the worst part of our day.

Diana said...

I live in the UK and here the terms 'home education' and 'home edding' have caught on which are much less formal and don't imply "doing school at home" which is understandably the conclusion people come to when they hear the word homeschooling.

Oh, and I'm thinking of printing T-shirts for my children that say "Life is my classroom", I'm sure other people have done this or at least thought about it!

Christy Hayhurst said...

Love this post, we often miss our scheduled school time, making me feel horrible but my kids are still learning because I'm teaching in other ways. Great post :)

(the facebook link is incorrect and reads www.facebook.com/simplylivingforhim.com)

Mona said...

Hi, I recently discovered your blog and have downloaded your e-books. I can't wait to read them! One of the things I struggle to remember is that homeschool doesnt have to look like public school! One of the reasons we decided to homeschool after 2 yrs of public school is because we didn't like that DD was away from us for so long each day. There's no reason it shold take all day to learn the basics. There's so much more to learn that can't be taught in a classroom. Life is my school - I like it.

Anonymous said...

Having been formally educated as a teacher, it is really hard to think outside the box (er, school)! Lately I've been trying to follow a loose educational plan for my preschooler and we're having so much more success! I like ther term "Home Ed" or "Life Ed."

Hello, I'm Katie, and I'm a Life Ed Parent.

Belinda said...

Great post, and timely for me as I'm dealing with some scheduling issues of my own right now. I realize in reading your post that much of my problem is my obstinate REFUSAL to take the school factor out and just incorporate what is life right now into school.

Sandy said...

Diana, that is a great t-shirt idea! I just made one for each of my two at Cafe Press.

Thanks for this post!

Melissa said...

What inspiration and a great post! Thank you!

Lisa said...

So true, yet I find myself feeling pressured to "finish the curriculum"! I try my best to relax and educate at our pace. Plus, I want them to have real life experiences, like you said! I think I'll have it all ironed out by the time my kids are grown in about 20 years. ;-)