Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Learning from Life

Mara making tortillas for supper.
 One of the things that I love about homeschooling is being able to do more of our learning (we have more time as our kids are home rather than off to school many hours a day) just from life rather than from textbooks.  Though in our homeschooling we do still use some textbooks (Math, English, Spelling and Reading) and then we also have a lot of other books that we consider to be a part of our school day such as Geography, History, Government, Bible, Poetry, Literature, etc - sometimes textbooks and sometimes not - I always try to find well written books and I read these aloud to everybody together. We all love this way of learning! Those are the things I consider to be our "schoolwork" - they are initiated by me, sometimes with very happy reception and sometimes not so much. But that is not were the learning ends, not at all!

  Much of our learning happens in just regular life. It is often initiated by the kids or the kids see something I am learning about and want to join me or it might just kind of happen as a family activity. Ken and I love to encourage this method of learning as when you thoroughly enjoy the method I think that often the lesson sticks a little better.

  Here are a few of the ways that our kids have lately been learning from life:

  • They have been learning to get much better at cooking and baking and doing quite a bit of math in the process. I did initiate my getting 2 nights a week off from cooking (which I am really enjoying!) as the boys are cooking on Saturday evenings and the girls do it on Sunday evening. Also Jonathan has really been enjoying baking quite regularly I think mostly to fuel his sweet tooth with plenty of cookies but I do also think that he simply enjoys it. He likes to double or triple his batches so that gives him so good practice in adding fractions. Mara volunteered to cook breakfast one morning a week so she gets some additional practice there. Knowing how to cook is a great skill for later in life and also helps them learn other things as well.
  • When I was cleaning my office last month Mara came and volunteered to help when I was going through my files to she learned about the filing system.
  •  Megan and Aaron had fun helping me plant seeds last month. Science lessons naturally.
  • At church we are getting ready for a rally that will be next month. The kids are all in skits that they practice every Sunday afternoon. This is giving them great practice in public speaking - how to speak loudly and clearly and with expression.
  •  When we had the opportunity we went to a History museum for fun. It was a great family outing but we also learned a ton! (pictures above and below are from that day.)
  •  Today when I got done teaching piano lessons to some other homeschool boys (one boy at a time while the other plays with my kids) the kids came out of the bedroom and told me that they were having fun playing target practice with the Nerf guns and the map (USA) was their target. What a great way to drill in your head where states are and the names. I guess Texas was easy to hit but Rhode Island was the fun challenge.
  • Ken gave the kids a clock that wasn't working to see if they could fix it. I found a video on how a watch works which we watched together and then I also let them take apart some old watches that I had kept around. They didn't get anything fixed but I think they learned a lot more about how a clock works. Maybe someday they will figure out how to fix them.
Here is the very old but very neat video that we watched that is about watches.

  • I was researching stuff about parasites (yuck!) and so the kids ended up getting in on some of the learning too. I think it is important for everybody in the family to share what they are learning about so that everybody can benefit. This can be done very naturally through mealtime discussions (though when the topic is something like parasites that can be a little gross) where whatever the topic is discussed in a fun way and the kids don't even realize that they are learning.
  • Lately for some of our school day reading we have been going through an Usborne book about machines. Jonathan has been quite fascinated and in his "non school" hours he has been seeing how he can recreate the things he is learning about with his Legos and technics. It has been fun to watch him learn how to use gears and actually make things that can work.
  • The other day I wanted to watch Ben Carson's speech at the National Prayer Breakfast and I ended up with 3 of the kids (not Jonathan as he was sick and sleeping) watching it with me just because they wanted too. It is a great speech and one to learn from. We ended up with some good discussions from it as well.
Here it is:

  • The kids have also been making snow forts. Play like that is great for them for learning how to build and about things like how thick something needs to be to be strong, etc.
  • On Monday because it was presidents day we had fun going over Presidential trivia at supper.
Those are some of the FUN ways we have been learning lately. How about you, do you enjoy noticing how your children go off and learn all on their own with no prompting from you. Do you encourage learning from life opportunities?


Rachel E. said...

Learning takes place everywhere as long as the mind is open. My kids learn a lot about chickens just by watching.

I wish my kids would jump in more in the kitchen. It's good practice.

Serving A Generation for Jesus said...

What a great post! Thanks for sharing.:)

Abbi said...

Thanks ladies!


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