Unscheduled School

I recently spoke with a woman who was having a lot of difficulty teaching her children.  She has three kids and felt torn between them.  She couldn’t divide her time satisfactorily to teach all of them as much as she felt they needed.  She was trying to cram everything into their “school day” as fast as they could so they could get on with real life.

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I approach things quite differently.  We have plenty of unscheduled school.  We make learning happen all the time, not just while school is in session.  Like her, I’m a planner.  I map out what we will learn and do constantly.  I have high goals, hopes, and expectations for my kids and their educations.  The difference is that I don’t try to cram it all into school time.  I read to the kids after lunch and at bedtime.  They read to me at various times of the day.  We go on learning expeditions on weekends.  We do art lessons in the afternoon (with their friends in attendance) pretty often.  We pass off cub scout requirements while learning about birds, cooking, conservation, and all kinds of other things.  Music lessons are just before dinner.

Harrison was assigned to do a narration page about Ancient China, but he wanted to do a model of a Chinese hut.  So we took time to do both.  It wasn't planned, but it was even better.

Harrison was assigned to do a narration page about Ancient China, but he wanted to do a model of a Chinese hut. So we took time to do both. It wasn’t planned, but it was even better.

Learning isn’t just for school time at our house.  Learning is just a part of life.  I really believe that learning is lifelong and all the time.  Learning is expanding who we are and understanding the world and people around us.  I don’t have to stress out because we didn’t finish our history lesson.  We’ll discuss it over dinner.

Make learning a part of life, not just a part of school.

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