Friday, July 22, 2016

When Learning Happens

As new homeowners in Oklahoma are inclined to do, we had a storm shelter installed in our back yard this week.  My husband took  the day off to monitor things and he and my son sat watching the entire process from beginning to end (about two hours).  As boring as it might sound, the excitement and captivation on both of their faces was unmistakable.  And of course it gave many opportunities for my husband (the engineer) to teach my 5 year old about a backhoe, displacement, weather and balance.  Learning was happening and I had some time to go organize the game cabinets.  Winning all the way around!WatchingShelterSometimes it is easy to forget that learning doesn’t only happen in a classroom between the hours of 8 AM and 3 PM.  When DOES learning happen?  Is it during a teacher’s explanation of a new concept?  Is it while you are outside staring at a world housed underneath a rock?  Is it while writing your first apology?  Yes, yes and yes!   With any situation where new information is presented learning is possible with an engaged mind.  But yet as a mom who chooses to homeschool and dictate the rhythm of our days, I catch myself feeling guilty or doubting the legitimacy of my choice.  Why?  Is it because I don’t have the knowledge to do the job? Nope. Between too many years of schooling in both of his parents, the library and google, we have access to all the knowledge we need.  Is it because my son isn’t learning or severely behind?  Nope.  According to public school rules, he wouldn’t start kindergarten until this fall and he was ready for 1st grade curriculum in January.   Is it because my son’s education schedule doesn’t look like everyone else’s? Yeah, that might be it.CaterpillarAs a public-schooled homeschooler, some days I find it hard to view education in ways other than a classroom.  Our choice to homeschool is partially motivated by the promise of creating a different educational environment that is tailored to our family’s needs and intents, but suddenly there I am worried about all the things that aren’t just like a standard classroom!  The yellow bus, cafeteria, one-recess school day is reinforced through media, culture, and majority expectation so it’s not a surprise that I’m constantly measuring our experiences next to this iconic image in my mind.  What’s funny, though, is that even in the best classrooms around the world, there will be millions of differences in no small part due to the needs of that teacher and those particular children -which reinforces why I love having the option to homeschool in the first place!  Some days we need to be reminded of why we walked down this path to begin with.  My goal as a teacher and parent is to prepare my kids with everything they need to master required skills, whatever they may choose to pursue in life and ultimately glorify God with it all.
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. –Deuteronomy 6:6-7
Just as the spiritual training of our family should happen everywhere, an academic education can imitate that design beautifully, even while watching a machine dig a hole in your back yard!

This was originally published at  Homeschooling with HeartThe Old Sch
oolhouse Blog.

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