Friday, January 18, 2013

What does school look like?

When many of us think of "school" we think of sitting at a desk, in a classroom. Chalkboard front and center, teacher's desk off to one side. Teacher tells us what we need to know, and when. Rarely why. We thought we need someone big to inform us, to teach us.

I tend to disagree. Most of the learning that goes on in our home is an organic part of the day. We don't really do "school". I buy Sonlight curriculum because they have such. great. books. They have an instructor's guide with guidelines of what to read when. Aviana is very much a structured linear little girl and enjoys having a check list to mark off.
Brielle on the other hand, doesn't. And they are both learning in this home. We are helping all of our children meet and exceed their fullest potential.
We encourage them to learn about this and such, or give them lots of resources if they show interest in that and such. We answer questions, we show them, we discuss, we help them learn how to learn and find the answer for themselves.
All of the activities you see here have been completely unbidden. Brielle wanted to learn how to write using a quill, so we made one. Aviana wanted to make New Year's Resolutions so she wrote them. They wanted to learn how to read, so they did.
They don't learn for grades or for a test. They learn for the joy of it. They learn because God made them to be little sponges, to soak up their environment. Loving to learn and learning how to find the information they need are the skills they will need their entire lives. Sitting in an age segregated classroom for seven hours a day would suck a lot of the fun right out of learning and it would become something they just have to do.
It all falls into place. "What about math?" is a question I'm often asked. For right now, they are learning through life skills like cooking with me in the kitchen, in our home.The girls add fractions all the time. My four year old can do division. Offer him 8 cookies and it doesn't take him long to figure out they each get two. If it turns out they need to learn calculus and trigonometry, I'll figure out a way to teach it to them. For the record, I did well in calculus and trigonometry, and I couldn't tell you what either is or why I learned it or what they are used for.
"What about socialization?" is another often queried question. I would rather have my children learn how to be civilized from me and other adults in our sphere than 15-20 other small not-yet-civilized people. I would rather have them learn how to stand in line when we wait at the post office or a restaurant, than to line up and march down halls for "specials" and lunch and recess and a restroom break. I would rather have them learn how to not interrupt from me than from a teacher who is trying to manage 20 little interrupters. I would rather have them learn manners from me than the kid on the playground who hasn't yet mastered not shoving.
(totally unposed picture here, they were just doing that!)

What does school look like? It looks like an every day day. It looks like fun.  It looks like life.

(this picture credit to Jen Van Fleet)

2 comments:

Davene Grace said...

Yes, I hear you on this!! :) We use Sonlight, too; but the more I do this homeschool thing, the more relaxed I get about it all and the more reassured I am that my children will (mostly) naturally soak up the learning.

By the way, have you heard of the Life of Fred math books? A friend of ours who is a math professor at a university recommended them to me, so of course I wanted to check them out. They are FANTASTIC. So much fun, for one thing...plus, they immediately show why math is important and how it relates to real life. My boys LOVE them. It's the kind of thing that I sit on the couch and read a chapter to them and they are BEGGING for more. The books are fairly inexpensive and they're non-consumable...so for me with my five kids, they are a very worthwhile investment. Anyway...just my two cents... :)

5kidswdisabilities.com said...

I think what your kids learn is more inclusive than school. Every child should be so lucky!