Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Curiosity Killed the School Books

Often times the hardest part of homeschooling is not having a worksheet, quiz or checked-off to-do list at the end of the day. Even on the days when the "books" don't make their way off the bookshelf and onto the sofa or counter top, there is so much LEARNING that has taken place.
Today was a full day. More than half of the day was spent outdoors, partly in our own yard (front and back) and partly in the yard of some new-found friends (fellow homeschoolers, with three little ones. What is it with these homeschooling families being large? Are we trying to follow the stereotypes??). The other half of the day was divided between some "official" homeschooling (sitting on the sofa completing "Lesson 82" in her reading lessons book), a library DVD, lots of snacking and massive amounts of artwork (mainly painting).
As you can see, a day in the life of a homeschooler is COMPLETELY different from that of a day in the life of most non-homeschoolers. Don't get me wrong, there are days when I am cracking the whip and really producing lots of "work" (because of course that's what we measure a child's learning by right?).
So, for my own satisfaction (and defense!) I would like to compile a list of the things my children learned/discovered TODAY:
  • how to slice their own apricots using a knife
  • what a "Jew's harp" is (trust me, this was a new one for me also)
  • the story of "Tom Sawyer" and how he convinced his friend to whitewash the fence for him (I could see the wheels turning in Sophia's head as she heard about how his buddies actually paid HIM to do HIS work... I can just imagine the idea that was put into her little brain)
  • who their "neighbor" is based upon the story of "The Good Samaritan"
  • how to count using chocolate chips and pretzel sticks (okay, Nicolas missed "16" and went right to "18", but wow, what an effort)
  • what termites are and how sesame seed-covered almonds can be used as stand-ins for these nasty little critters
  • why you should always let an adult spray the bugspray on a windy afternoon ("Aaahhh, Daddy, my eyes!!!")
  • that metal turns to liquid when melted and that you can mold into into virtually ANY shape you wish to
  • that coyotes actually live in the woods across the street from us AND what they look like and sound like (extremely interesting yet also oh-so terrifying for them)
  • that Mommy likes to take walks at just about the same time that they are due to be tucked in to bed ("Oh, I guess it's Daddy's turn to put you to bed tonight")

Whew, I feel much better now. The beauty of allowing the world around you to be your classroom is that the discovery never ends. Oh, and by the way, there's no curriculum for teaching children to be curious. They just some how know to seek answers on their own!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When I was 11 years old I learned the word viscosity from my Dad while he was changing the oil in his motorcycle. I have never forgotten that word. I also learned the word and the meaning of "forecastle", which I did manage to use in a spelling bee. I remember so many times when I was able to teach all of my children and grandchildren life's lessons along the way. I hope you will remember some of them. I will never forget how young Sofie-Dofie was when she knew where phalanges, patella and the sternum were located on the human body. Love your Momma