The following is written by Angie Kauffman of Real Life at Home.
As we gear up for next school year, we are preparing for our first school year in eight years where nobody in our house is being homeschooled. Instead, all three of my children have decided that they want to go to school full time outside the home.
An end, whether it’s temporary or permanent, of our homeschooling doesn’t mean an end to enriching the educational lives of our children. It just means that we will be doing it in a slightly different way than before.
Perhaps you’re also finding yourself not homeschooling this year. Maybe it’s because there have been life changes that have necessitated a change in schooling. Perhaps it’s because you have never homeschooled and are just interested in homeschooling.
I’m sharing some wonderful things that you can do for your children to enrich their lives whether you are homeschooling right now or not.
When you can travel with your children, you should. I’m continually amazed by how much can be learned from traveling.
I would encourage you to make a list of all of the places that your family would like to travel. Make sure to include easy day trips, as well as dream vacations that you might never be able to take.
Photo by Dollar Photo Club
We recently received an email about an airline sale that was such a great deal that we booked a trip to Washington D.C. It was something we had wanted to do for quite some time, but that sale was what finally pushed us to say yes to a trip with amazing potential for learning and family togetherness.
One obstacle to traveling with school-going children is that you often have to travel during school breaks and peak travel times. This is still better than not traveling at all.
However, I would also encourage you to inquire about your school’s policy for educational travel. Near us, many of the schools are very receptive to travel, with some even counting children as present if the travel is educational in nature.
I’m a big fan of doing read-alouds as a whole family, no matter what age your children are. Even though my kids are currently all in double digits, they still enjoy being read to and I still enjoy reading to them. I guess that makes us a perfect match!
One great thing that we did this past school year to combine school assignments with family read-alouds was that I read some of the books that my daughter was reading for her class (which was allowed) aloud to our whole family. This helped her with some of the book list that she needed to read, and also allowed us to still spend that family read aloud time together.
A couple of our favorites this year were Wonder by R.J. Palacio and Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin.
Embracing the arts
Many schools have made cuts to the arts and music, which is such a shame. Working on creative endeavors helps develop skills in other areas as well. Plus, the arts are wonderful all on their own!
The arts can be encouraged outside of school with formal things like music lessons and art classes. However, you can also encourage a love of art and music through visiting art museums and the symphony, working on art projects at home, or even just listening to music around the house.
Encouraging kids to find their creative sides is a wonderful gift to give them!
Photo by Skokie Public Library
Invest time into individual interests
There are so many things that can’t be covered in a school setting, which are perfect for working on and encouraging at home.
Last year, for instance, one of my sons became interested in podcasting.
Though he didn’t continue with it for very long, it was a fun learning opportunity for me to teach him about how to prepare for interviewing someone, recording podcast episodes, editing them, and how to publish them.
Another child was interested in making videos, and so we’ve played around with that. Both of us have learned along the way.
I love watching the learning that happens when we work on projects like that!
We loved those kinds of things when we were homeschooling, and I feel blessed that even though we aren’t this year, I can still help enrich my children’s lives and education by continuing to work on projects like that with them.
Whether you are exclusively homeschooling, hybrid homeschooling, or have children in school full time, what are some things you do outside of typical school subjects to enrich their education?
Great ideas! If you liked Breaking Stalin’s Nose, you might also like Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin.
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These are great ideas! We also take advantage of things we can’t do any other time of year like swimming a lot, playing ball, riding bikes, etc. It’s nice to be able to do different activities at different times of the year. Even if you want to stop learning you really can’t. Every day is a learning adventure. 🙂
I forgot to mention outdoor music festivals, county fairs, and community festivals.
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I’m always sad to hear about homeschoolers….going back to school.
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This is so encouraging! I’m happy to find that we’re doing most of these things already. Good reminder to keep it up, no matter what our schooling choices turn out to be.
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We don’t homeschool, we just try to enrich the kids’ education by taking time to study the things they are really interested, but don’t get a chance to study at school. Maybe something prompted by a trip or a book, it’s more of an interest-led approach and it’s mostly during the summers. The kids seem to like it because they’re choosing what and how they learn. We think it’s fun to watch them have fun learning about something new.
Totally agree. As a retired public school teacher I liked to remind my students’ parents that they were their child’s first and forever teacher. Continuing to read aloud with your children as they get older is not just educational, but a wonderful bonding time. My adult daughter has fond memories of her father reading Treasure Island and The Hobbit to her as a teenager. My father read Shakespeare and Dickens with me which gave me a wonderful appreciation for English literature before I entered high school. I also encouraged parents to visit national parks with their children which not only make great vacation spots but can help instill a love of science and history. No matter where your children get their “schooling,” parents are always the best teachers.
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