Don’t Let (Home)School be in the Way of Learning.

This is one of the most challenging concepts for me. Really.

You might not think so. With me planning field trips (after discovering where we’re traveling to), coming up with activities, and always being so busy.

But even after all this time, there are still times when I balk at an activity because it’s competing with school. We can’t miss school. When will they get their school done?

And, in the process, I miss the point. School is supposed to be about learning. Done well, it is. But school is contrived, and formalized, and formulated, and as such… you can move it around. Bump it. Adapt. Adjust.

The teachable moment happens, and you need to recognize it in order to take advantage.

Today is Halloween. We don’t trick or treat. It’s not that we’re anti-Halloween or anything (and it’s 100% okay with me if you are – that’s just not this post). It is more that, most of the time, we have not lived in places that have good, wholesome community involvement.

This afternoon, a community site we frequent is having – oh, I forget what they call it, but IT’S A PARTY. Attendees (including adults) are expected to wear a costume. There are going to be all sorts of games – group games and silly games and even a skit or two.

The kids are stoked. <sigh>

This morning, in a moment of surrender, I announced we would not do math today. The boys had finishing touches to put on their costumes. On a good day, getting math finished takes a lot of concentration (for them and for me). I decided it wasn’t worth the stress… just for today. And I really felt like a sell-out.

But you know what? 

By lunch, the costumes weren’t quite finished, but they were close. (Paint had to dry, I think). But….

All of the other assigned schoolwork of the day was finished.

img_0981My youngest helped me laminate some materials for church and home decorations for Thanksgiving.

carpenter-1453880_1280My middle son worked with his dad in the garage (I don’t know what they did. I think, maybe, power tools, sanding, and paint may have been involved.)

Hernan Fernando CortesMy middle and oldest sons are rasslin’ with Hernán Cortés (or his virtual counterpart) online. 

Did I mention everything else is finished? Spelling. Spanish (and they took the time to make sure I saw the funny elements in today’s lesson). Silent reading. Grammar. Science. Music practice.

Oh, wait. History. We haven’t read history today. We normally read this aloud, together, but today, I’ve kind of just been watching them quietly go about the “business” of the day.

Costumes? Check.

Schoolwork (except history and math)? Check.

Helping out Mom and Dad? Check.

Today was about me remembering that all the facts and figures the kids learn don’t mean quite as much as how they are able to apply that learning. And that’s what they’ve been doing most of the day – whether it was creating information signs for church, building furniture, researching appropriate attire for a period costume, or figuring out how to defeat (virtual) Cortes in a video game.

This is not how I expected to end my #31DaysofHomeschoolReflection series. But it seems appropriate. Homeschooling is the journey, and while I believe that the journey is The Worthier Part, eventually, journeys end. Rather, our (family’s) homeschooling journey will end as each boy begins his new journey. Watching today how they’ve been learning – without prompting – and applying what they’ve learned, makes me look forward to seeing just how they’ll navigate their futures.