If you’ve ever visited this blog before, you are well aware of how passionately I try to spread the message that homeschooling does not have to be a replica of school and how important it is to get out of the schoolish mindset. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately and have come to the realization that homeschool laws and even homeschool curricula can make that very difficult. (Watch my video on this topic here.)
Many states have specific subject requirements that must be fulfilled each year, thus homeschool resource publishers follow suit and produce textbook after textbook covering grammar, writing, spelling, reading, math, social studies, science, and so on and so on.
Countless times I have seen stressed out homeschool moms completely burned out from trying to fit all of these different classes into their day, inevitably erasing the possibility of any enjoyment that might have occurred in their homeschool routine.
On top of feeling burned out, these mothers often worry themselves silly over whether or not they are sufficiently covering all of the subjects properly.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret…
Don’t sweat the subject requirements!
I’m serious. Don’t even give them a second thought. With my younger kids (ages 12 and under), I don’t even think about what subjects I’m covering when I plan out their homeschool schedules. I’m more interested in doing activities that will mesh well together and produce a more cohesive learning environment.
Do our subjects get covered? You bet they do. Today I’m going to show you how.
3 Reasons to Forget About Subjects and Focus Simply on Learning
#1- It’s very common to cover multiple subject areas at once without even trying.
I started our homeschooling journey trying to imitate school, too. Most people do. But even then I used to wonder:
–Why do my kids have to do writing today when they’re writing a report for science?
–Is it really necessary to do a grammar worksheet when we just spent 20 minutes proofreading and correcting an essay?
–The life of Thomas Edison was covered in the book for her book report. Why then should we move on to an entirely different era for history? That doesn’t even make sense.
It is so important to realize just how often we cover multiple subject areas without even noticing it. Recently, we finished a read-aloud about Roger Bacon. Without even trying, we were able to cover literature, vocabulary, history, and science with that one book. One book.
The same thing can even happen with more traditional textbooks. Just today I was helping my 17 year old learn to write empirical formulas for compounds. After we sat there for 30 minutes figuring these out, I laughed and mentioned to my daughter that we had just covered math for the day, too.
It is nearly impossible to isolate one subject from all others. Take advantage of this and save yourself the time and aggravation!
#2- Living a life filled with literature ensures adequate coverage of most subject areas.
I know there are a lot of people who disagree with children reading “twaddle,” or what they consider to be inferior writing, but I truly believe that there is value to be found in most literature- even Magic Tree House Books, which have horrible sentence structure but are fabulous with science and history-related topics.
I have yet to read one book to my kids or to myself that had no redeeming qualities. I have been amazed at what we’ve learned from books we picked up to read for pleasure and instead ended up with an abundance of new knowledge.
Some books, like the Little House series, seem like they are only geared towards history, yet they have such a wealth of information in all areas that I was inspired to write a unit study based on them.
You’d be surprised how much learning can happen while covered up with a warm blanket, drinking a cup of hot chocolate, and reading a good book together.
Isn’t that better then a dreary textbook and worksheets?
#3- Every required subject can be covered through day to day living.
Unless your children live under a rock or sleep 24 hours a day, there is no way they could get through a day without learning anything. It’s literally impossible.
The reason this may be so hard for some of us to see is that we adults don’t break our lives into subjects. When my mother calls and asks what I’m doing, I don’t say,
I’m doing math and life skills.
I’m balancing the checkbook.
When my kids ask me why I’m out in the yard, I don’t say,
I’m doing science, life skills, and physical education.
I’m working in the garden.
Maybe the reason so many parents have such a hard time seeing their children learning in everyday life is that they get so used to labeling everything in school by subject, while life is just, well…life.
It’s a common mistake, but one that can be easily remedied.
Repeat after me:
Just because I haven’t labeled it doesn’t mean it isn’t education.
Easy right? Now believe it, and you’re well on your way to a newfound freedom. A freedom not only from the constraints of a school system but from the constraints of fretting over subjects, as well.
Learning happens all the time, everywhere, in everything.
Take advantage of it and turn your homeschool from a source of stress into a source of strength.