The Joy of A Day Spent Exploring
When I first heard of homeschooling, I thought it must be an activity very like public schooling, only in your own converted schoolroom. In fact that is precisely how I began homeschooling my kids. They started third grade in one end of our bedroom. I set up two desks with supplies and workbooks. I even had a “welcome to school” sign on the door.
Suffice it to say, the first weeks did not go well, and I realized that homeschooling really means exploring with your kids. The needs of your children change from year to year as they grow up, but one thing remains constant: the best homeschooling is not done behind a desk.
We discovered the joy of exploring and never looked back. We explored the places we never had time for when my kids were in public school. My kids homeschooled at the library, in the car, at the park, on a farm, at the beach, at the museum, in Grandma’s backyard, and even in a hole in our backyard.
Some of our best homeschooling occured while we were exploring. We discovered along the way that exploring doesn`t mean you have to go that far afield. In fact, we did an entire year of language arts and poetry in our backyard. My kids got a chance to be in our yard all the way through the seasons. We would stop a lesson or a spelling test to examine an unusual bug or chase a butterfly. In between, my kids gathered flowers to decorate the blanket upon which we sat.
That was a wonderful year! But it was not our only outdoor activity. We homeschooled at playgrounds, arriving early and getting work done before friends showed up to play.
My favorite playground memory from those homeschooling years was running across a vast open field with a friend helping me to carry all the school books. We were chasing the whole pack of kids as they raced for a swingset in a fall rain mixed with gorgeous leaves dropping from the forest around us. The sounds of joyful children combined with the bracing wind of fall created the perfect homeschool moment for me.
Moments like these are frozen in time. I cherish each one and am so thankful that I had the opportunity to homeschool my children when they were young for those fantastically wild moments. I am also thankful that I can homeschool my children now that they are teenagers. The moments are different now, many of their explorations are on their own. That change is bittersweet as my kids are no longer right by my side, but the stories they tell of their adventures are wonderful and glorious.
So, as we enter this wonderful fall season of thankfulness, consider taking your children out to explore the world around them as you homeschool. It will enhance their joy and warm your heart. And, what more could you really ask for?
Kirsten West – I am a homeschooling mom with twin teenagers. We have homeschooled them since they were young and now that I have more time, I blog, write math books and children’s stories, crochet a lot in the evenings, and work as an independent consultant for The Old Schoolhouse as the SchoolhouseTeachers.com Affiliate Manager.