Guest post from Karen DeBeus
We made the decision when our oldest child was turning five years old, that we would homeschool. It has been an amazing journey, and one that I never expected to be on. Here I am home educating four children! I have learned much on this journey, but most of all, I have learned that there is no right “way” to homeschool.” Yet, cultivating our child’s desire to learn is of utmost importance.
I don’t know why we use the term homeSCHOOL sometimes. When I take the word “school” out of our day, and just live our life, that is when most learning takes place! Our home becomes an atmosphere of continuous learning, and our home is the best tool in our curriculum.
Whether you choose to homeschool full time or not, all children can experience learning through life, by cultivating an atmosphere of continuous learning each day. Children have a natural curiosity and desire to learn, and at home we have opportunities each day to encourage them to pursue that desire and learn.
There are so many simple ways to use everyday life as learning opportunities. After all, we are preparing our children to live in the real world one day, so where better to learn about that world, than by being immersed in it! Life skills are easily taught by letting children be a part of the everyday chores and tasks about the home.
We also can foster that natural curiosity by letting them dive right in to something that interests them. Do they love legos, building, and construction? Do they love cooking? Maybe they can’t get enough of art. Whatever is it, making your home a place where they can pursue these interests is essential.
When you are out of the home, there are also countless opportunities to learn. Field trips are great, but even a run tothe grocery store is a learning experience if communicated as such. Talk to your child while doing these tasks. Ask them questions. A usual trip to the grocery store or hardware store can easily be transformed into a learning experience.
Great ways to learn at home can be:
- 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
- writing creative stories, plays, or poetry
- a construction project in the home, complete with preliminary 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
- gardening-learning about seeds, composting, planting zones, etc.
- 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. Look around your house and see how each opportunity can be used. Stop and explain how things work, discuss the various tasks you do each day, and teach them how to be involved.
Let your home be a place to explore, create, and wonder. Encourage learning through life. The life we are preparing our children to live for is happening right now. The different ages of our children at home is a learning advantage as well. Little ones learn from the example of older ones, and the older ones are in training for one day when they will be parents.
Home is the most natural place to learn. So I encourage you whether you choose to homeschool or not, to make your home an atmosphere of continuous learning each and everyday!
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