One of the funniest things to me while talking to someone unfamiliar with homeschooling is the look on their face when I tell them that our homeschooling only takes a few hours a day.
I totally get it. After growing up in a school system that mandates 6-7 hour-long days, it can be hard to understand how a child can learn in so small an amount of time.
But that’s just it…we homeschoolers don’t consider our lessons to be the only portion of our day that our kids are being educated. After being immersed in this lifestyle- yes, lifestyle- for a bit, it’s easy to see how natural a process learning actually is.
And that’s something that can be really difficult to grasp if you’re basing your picture of education off of the traditional school model. I’ve been there. My six oldest kids have all spent some time in school- some longer than others- and when they were attending, I often didn’t give a second thought to whether or not they were learning outside of school.
After all, education is up to the teachers, right?
Only after pulling my kids out of school did I begin to see the abundance of learning that was happening all. the. time.- with or without my help.
This isn’t to say that school children don’t learn outside of school. They do all the time, but for most parents of these children, education becomes compartmentalized. Learning happens in school. Everything else happens at home.
But I’ve come to see that that is so not true…learning is not a separate portion of life. It is something that is connected to everything else that happens in our lives.
We learn while we are with our friends.
We learn while we are watching TV.
We learn while we are reading.
We learn while we are staring out the window.
We learn while we do chores.
We learn while we are sick.
Suffice it to say, if you are awake, you’re learning.
Which is why I have no problem with the fact that ‘doing school’ only last a few hours a day…because the end of our scheduled daily routine in no way means that my kids still aren’t being educated.
In fact, I fervently believe that their most important learning happens in these spontaneous moments.
When they watch a Chinese lantern float up into the sky and excitedly exclaim that they know why that happens.
When they find a fledgling out in the yard and google everything they can to find out how they can help- or even if they should.
When they find a walnut at the park and attempt to crack it open to see what’s inside.
These are the moments that children remember. The times when they are able to take what they’ve discovered and own it.
These are the moments that I want to provide for my children abundantly.
Because homeschooling isn’t a part of life, it’s a way of life.