One of the most exciting parts of the homeschooling lifestyle is inviting those in our families on the journey with us.
Looking back on my childhood I wish I had learned more practical life skills, like cooking and sewing, from those in my family. But I spent most of my days in a school building, and the desire to learn anything else after those long hours just wasn’t my idea of fun.
Thankfully homeschooling offers us the precious gift of time. If we’re blessed to have extended family living nearby, we can incorporate their skills and talents into our curriculum. Even if family lives elsewhere we can invite them into our learning adventure when they visit or from afar.
Check out these practical ideas to hear how others make learning a true family affair.
If your family lives close by, or when they visit, allowing them to be part of family read-alouds is an obvious way to bond and learn with your children. If your kids are like mine, no visitor can pass through the door without soon being asked, “Will you read to me?”
One time my mother, who does not live nearby, sent my kids a book and DVD–the DVD showed her reading the book and discussing it with them. They watched it and loved having Meme “read to them” on the screen.
Renee of FIMBY writes that her children regularly send letters and emails to their grandparents–creating a real life opportunity to practice handwriting and composition as well as building relationships.
And when the grandparents write back, that is of course excellent reading practice.
Geography comes up naturally if you have family living elsewhere. Mark where your relatives live on a map and research those locations.
Misha of Beauty and Joy finds that because her parents and in-laws live overseas it opens up a myriad of learning opportunities in their homeschool.
It only takes a simple request, like “Papa, tell me a story about when you were a little boy,” to make history come alive for young ears.
Although I wasn’t homeschooled, I’ll never forget listening to my grandfather recounting his experiences during World War II.
It’s easy to include visiting family members when you head out to a museum, farm, or any new destination. Jessica of Life as Mom writes about the fun her children have exploring museums with her mother, who is a museum curator and has a wealth of historical knowledge.
Even a trip to the grocery store with Grandma can be an educational affair.
Calligraphy, Cooking, Construction, Sewing, Music
This is where it gets really good. Because what our extended family members should teach our children is…their passion, whatever that might be.
In generations past, new skills were naturally passed down this way.
But in the rush of our busy lives, as we hurry to get those curriculum boxes checked off, we may miss the treasure that is right in front of us.
Don’t overlook the educational heritage that lives within the branches of your family tree. Take the time to cultivate it–and invite your family to be involved.
How do you include extended family in your homeschool?