Written by contributor Amida of Journey Into Unschooling
Back to school is upon us and there have been lots of discussions among fellow homeschoolers about the Big Day — the loss of carefree summer days, the stress of preparation, the hopeful direction of the new year.
It is a time filled with promising new materials to try out, and beloved old ones to continue with. For me though, I prefer to take the route less stressful. I propose a different outlook.
One of my goals with homeschooling, after all, is to raise lifelong learners. I want my children to remain naturally curious of their world and to seek information and acquaint learning as a natural part of their lives. Just as learning shouldn’t be limited to specific hours of the day, neither does it need to have a start and end date.
I totally understand the desire to make “back to school” special. This, however, seem more necessary for actual traditionally schooled children, who need to switch between vacation mode and school mode.
Although the beginning of a new semester wouldn’t be much of an issue for those who school year-round, it may be harder to dive back into for those of us who have spent the summer in non-academic endeavors. Even so, I prefer a more natural flow without all the transitional hoopla.
Go S L O W.
One thing I avoid is the announcement of the First Day Of School. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been excited about that day as a child, and even now, it’s more likely to elicit a groan from my fellow homeschooling moms than anything else.
We generally start our days the way we normally would — eating breakfast, playing, reading. To this, I gradually add on any schoolwork — half an hour of math here, a science project there, as they fit throughout the week. If life happens to collide (say, a birthday party, get together with friends, or a massive pile of laundry in need of putting away), then we just go with it.
After all, the beauty of homeschooling is the flexibility — we aren’t necessarily chained to a schedule, although some of us, depending on the state requirements or program, may be more flexible than others. In an average week, we balance traditional schoolwork (assignments that must be turned into the charter school) with everyday activities.
Immerse In The Everyday
Another aspect I love about homeschooling is the opportunity to learn throughout the day.
As my children and I await the impending birth of their new sibling, for example, we discuss and learn about the baby’s development, and their future responsibilities. We compare the baby’s growth to a myriad of everyday objects (She’s as big and long as Dad’s slipper and weighs about as much as this cauliflower.) and compare her birth date to their birthdays.
This, I believe, has proven especially helpful for my youngest. It is real life learning and relates to her in a way that she can understand. I love when these opportunities present themselves to us, and am thankful that we don’t have to wait until “school time” to learn the science or math involved.
As we get better at erasing the line between school and home, we will reach a more ideal place of where I want our family to be.
Hopefully, the desire to learn will always be ongoing and met with enthusiasm, rather than a switch to turn off and on at the beginning and ending of the summer.
How do you erase the line between school and home?