Use the Experience Wisely
"Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely." Auguste Rodin
This quote sums up our homeschooling adventure. Almost every experience we have, I try to tie it into something we're learning. Tie in standards, make it fun. Make my kids see that learning does not just happen sitting in a seat at school, or with a worksheet in their hand, but throughout our everyday lives and moments.
This week, we went to our city's local AgriPark. An AgriPark is an urban farm, that inspires future generations of farmers, scientists, agronomists, robotics engineers, chefs, and more. This AgriPark has a U-Pick season, farm animals, play areas, learning activities, and trails. It's a beautiful space to explore. My only goal was to go and pick some veggies for dinner and let the kids play. Instead I used this experience wisely and turned it into our school day.
Now, this school day looks very different from a public school classroom. We were not sitting down reading a book, practicing our letters and sounds, reviewing math skills, etc. Below is what we did do:
learned about the different types of corn
how to pick green beans and tomatoes
shared stories of my childhood and going to my grandpa's garden
risky play- my boys learned how to jump from one tire to another by watching other kids
problem solved- how to move a giant bucket of water when it is too heavy
walking through the nature trails and counting the birdhouses (child led)
we used all of our senses as we encountered the animals
practiced how to hula hoop
quality family time in nature
determination & problem solving as they tried to catch a butterfly and grasshopper
While this will not be our everyday experience, but this will be the majority of our school days. Why? Because I see the value of being out in our community, learning through play and life. We can have grand adventures with no "academic skills" tied in, and we can have adventures with skills in mind that I know we need to touch on. Do you remember every fact, story, date, equation learned in school? Or do you remember those experiences and moments (that most likely learning was involved in)?
The academic piece will come when it is ready. There is a place for it, but still not sitting in a seat with a worksheet, so what is the hurry? What are we rushing things for? No one gets a gold star if they read at a level F by the end of kindergarten. No one gets extra money if they do 2-4 hours of homework each night.
When you have those experiences, even if your child/children are in a school setting, use them wisely. Nothing is a waste.