Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Shifting my thinking about "home"schooling!

When we started homeschooling, I was looking forward to keeping my kids home with me & teaching them myself. We did a lot of things within the 4 walls of our home. We did a lot of "school at home" type work. Lots of worksheets, lots of busy work.

Over the last several years, the way we homeschool has slowly changed. We are doing less & less traditional schoolwork. Yes, we still do math & grammar worksheets. But the way we do the rest of school is changing. I used to let the textbooks we had dictate the lessons I taught for science & history. Now, I'm letting life dictate the lessons we learn. 

When we were at my parents this past summer, we learned about plants. We learned about planting, picking weeds and harvesting vegetables. When at my in-laws, they learned about serving others by delivering Meals-on-wheels. They learn about the past from their Great Mamaw, Grandparents & countless Aunts & Uncles. They learn about construction, destruction, wood & hard work from their Uncle Bob. They learn about Chickens from their Aunt Wendy. 

When we travel with Hubby, they learn about lots of different things depending on where we are at. They've learned about the Ocean, Airplanes & space travel and recently caves & the Civil War. They are also learning about family & getting along with each other in small hotel rooms.

If you ask them about what they've learned so far in life, they won't be talking about what they learned in some book or on some worksheet. They will, however, tell you about meeting General Grant, who is a college professor. Or tell you about the cave they went through & what it's made of. They will tell you about the ocean & how it smelled & felt. 

I'm leaning more & more towards hands on travel & life experience. I'm teaching science based on questions that come up or situations we find ourselves in. We've had lots of interesting discussions about buoyancy and displacement in hotel pools. We talked about geology at Mammoth Cave. 

History discussion lately have come from visiting several Civil War Battlefields. These battlefields also brought up political & religious discussions as well as ones on ecology, preservation & human dignity/worth.

Reading opportunities avail themselves everywhere. Information signs at historical sights, wikipedia & other articles pertaining to something we've seen, and books we've picked up in our travels. Writing is covered when they journal about their experiences or fill out guidebooks to become Junior Rangers at the National Battlefields.

I guess you could say that I'm shifting my thinking & my approach from homeschooling to life educating! Forget the textbooks, give me hands-on learning opportunities any day! Besides, who remembers what they learned in public school?? I don't! If I want to know something, I research it on the Internet or in books. So we are going to teach the kids how to find information & how to think critically about what they find. Then we are going to put them in situations were they can explore, play & experience life! 

Feel free to follow us in this journey of living life here on our blog! We might even resurrect our podcast!

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