On doing school at home

by arianne

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It was a regular day for the kids and a regular day for me. They didn’t realize I had thought ahead and planned different parts of the day or that we had already been through half of it and they didn’t notice they were even actually “doing” school. I learned a long time ago that I can’t call it “school” or “work” or anything in that category unless I want them to refuse to participate.

So we played a “game” on the computer and they didn’t notice it was their math program. We talked about the cicada shells for an hour since we found 10 of them in our backyard, looked up the pictures and meanings of words and what the (super freaky, let’s be honest) molting process is like (and Sweet Fancy Moses do NOT Google that unless you want nightmares tonight) and they didn’t notice it was their science. We intentionally played this game and that game outside and they didn’t know it was P.E. We read the books about Pooh and about reptiles and about fairies and they didn’t notice any of it was school at all.

When we baked together and learned how to make biscuits together and learned fractions and it was fun? That was our school. When we talked about lunch and what different foods would be healthy and why? That was our school. When we wrote letters to Grandpa and I made them write it first on a piece of paper and we worked on spelling and grammar and then they wrote it in pen on a card? That was our school. When we counted water balloons and snuggled and laughed and rested — all of that? Was our school.

All of these and all the rest of the other things we did, well, they would’ve told you we played all day long. Sometimes when people ask about school they actually say they don’t do any school (and then you can hear this mama cringe a mile away).

And no, I do not think we are better than anyone else. I sometimes envy moms who have a break during the day but I’m not falling on my sword and I’m no angel. We are all doing what is best for us, yes? Everyone is just themselves, in the way God made them, living life how they want to and are called to and in a way that resonates and makes sense. I can’t be convinced to live someone else’s idea of what is “right” and I know you can’t be either.

So what does school look like for us? It looks like this.

It looks like me planning and being intentional and consulting various structured cirricula and then cobbling our own. It looks like maybe what other people do in the non-school hours when their kids are at home (I don’t pretend to have the corner on the market on this stuff) and I feel really blessed that I get to do this with them all day long right now.

(It’s not easy, but is any of it, really? This parenting thing?)

It looks like this reluctant homschooling mama is maybe a bit of an unschooler at heart and maybe not as reluctant with that shift in perspective. It looks like life and (our) normalcy and what is best for these kids at this season of life.


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