Written by contributor Amida of Journey Into Unschooling
A lot of people assume that, just because we are homeschoolers, we spend the majority of our days at home. But between field trips and lessons for three kids, there are days where we are anywhere but home.
So when my son suggested we have a Stay At Home Day, I was all for it.
It happened to be rainy that day and we didn’t have anywhere to be until 6pm. We ate a leisurely breakfast before spreading out some plastic on the table in preparation for art time. I had recently learned a new technique called Visual Teaching Strategies, and wanted to test it out on the kids.
It involved showing them a picture, in our case, a Ranger Rick photo, and asking them three questions:
- What do you see?
- What more do you see?
- Why do you say that?
Everyone answered each of the questions and my job was to repeat what they said and point out where on the picture they were referring to. For instance, one child noticed that there were specks around the eyes of the snake, so I restated the observation and pointed it out on the photo. Another commented that the scales were of different sizes so I asked for more clarification on why he said that (they were larger on the top and more closely set underneath the snake).
I was impressed with how well VTS worked, especially in our small group. We spent a long time on the first photo and ended up with three very detailed drawings of a snake shedding skin. They went on to do other drawings using the same technique with great results.
After art, we cleaned up and took a little break before a simple mac and cheese lunch (with ketchup).
The rest of the day was spent lounging around the living room, catching up on our ridiculously massive library pile. It was wonderful to have a chance to just read something for pleasure, and allow the kids the do the same without expectations of a Q&A and write up afterwards.
Before we knew it, we had whittled the rest of the afternoon away doing a whole lot of nothing — it was the best day ever!
As far as official schoolwork was concerned, we only did the one (albeit long) art session. Learning, however, I’m confident took place through the rest of the day, and especially at “unclocked” times.
I’ve never really liked having to break the day down into a learning record. The best days are the ones when we do life, be that at home or elsewhere. By the time their nightly class came around, we were all refreshed and ready for it.
Our Stay At Home Day also did wonders to help us recharge and look forward to the following days, when multiple activities would call us outside the home. This was definitely one day worthy of a repeat.
What happens on your best days?