Ever feel like you aren't doing enough in your homeschooling? Maybe it's outside pressure or your own internal dialogue, but often we doubt that what we are doing with and for our children is enough. I know I do, until I slow down and examine just how naturally full of learning our days really are.
Julie Bogart of Brave Writer was talking about this very idea the other day is this scope. She was talking about how we already do so much learning our children, even though it may not look like what schools would consider education. She expanded on this saying that we can give ourselves credit and calm the “ghost of public school past” by putting what we already do into what I like to call “teacher-speak,” that language that educators use to compartmentalize and quantify the learning being done.
Though I know many are intimidated by this task, I have always found it kind of fun, maybe because I love writing and am always trying to think of new ways to say the same thing. But also because I used to teach in public school and know that the teaching and learning done in a classroom has nothing on the authentic learning that can be done in the home and the world around.
So I decided to take one day from our week and put it into teacher-speak to illustrate this idea and hopefully give you some encouragement that you really are doing a lot already!
Below I’ve listed some of the activities we engaged in. And below that is a list of the subject areas and topics covered in “teacher-speak.”
- Making treats and peanut butter cocoa
- Reading poems-learned about e.e. cummings and the use or dis-use of capitalization in poetry
- haiku-which lead to discussion of syllables and counting them and spontaneous, improvised lines of poetry,
- Poetry art project-this would be completed later in the day, but in preparation, we discussed verbs, nouns, and adjectives, listing some to be used in a poem about autumn leaves
- Read the map and followed trail markers.
- experienced the crispness in the air juxtaposed with the warmth of fall day, collected various leaves and later looked up a few that we did not recognize
- physical exercise, fresh air
- time with friends
After our hike:
- Looked at each individual leaf and described it recalling adjectives, nouns and verbs. Wrote words on leaves, arranged them in various ways to make a poem, typed the poem, dipped leaves in beeswax and hung them up to dry.
Language arts: poetry appreciation, reading, grammar, capitalization, syllables, penmanship, keyboarding skills
Math: fractions, measurement, comparing
Social Studies: Map reading, compass rose
Science: botany, leaf identification
Physical education: hiking
Recess: socializing with friends
Art: 3-D sculpture, photography
If you add in the music we listened to on the way and the time my older kids practiced their violins, we covered every subject area. The best part is, I was there, present and engaged with my children. We weren’t bogged down by workbooks on this beautiful day in November. We were living a full life. And what I realized along the way is that the best learning is the learning that you’re never too tired to pursue. The learning that even though it may not be during your “school” hours, you are still excited to experience. Because that’s just it! Learning is an experience. A never-ending, journey of discovery.
Give it a try.
Can you take just one experience that you have shared with your children lately and put it in “teacher-speak”?