In our home, we’re taking a more 21st century approach to schooling as we forego the traditional books and desks. I mean, we certainly use books, and desks (we also use the kitchen counter), but we’re venturing outside of the traditional classroom environment to broaden the tools we have at our disposal when it comes to educating our daughters. Museums, book stores, the zoo, and even the grocery store all make for phenomenal learning opportunities, yet most homeschool parents don’t realize that education doesn’t have to happen inside the pages of a book–it happens everywhere.
Just last week we had an entire day of school that didn’t even involve being at home (mostly).
First, my daughters worked together to create a meal plan for the week. They were given a budget, and dietary restrictions (my husband is diabetic and my youngest is lactose intolerant) as well as some simple guidelines as to what constituted a “meal” in our household (no frozen dinners, take out, etc.). After about 90 minutes of collaboration, they presented a well thought out meal plan that was (probably) going to be under budget. Since we didn’t know the exact cost of each item at the grocery store, the advice we gave them was to keep it to just a few readily available ingredients, and that it should work out. We could always make adjustments at the grocery store.
Once we made it to the grocery store, they picked out each item, kept track of the running total of everything in the cart and even got into a bit of an argument as to whether the cookies my youngest wanted were a better value than the store brand that were $1.50 less. After weighing fruit, doing conversions from cups to ounces, or teaspoons to milliliters, we were off for the checkout. I’m happy to report that they were $8.85 under budget, and we had a delicious week worth of meals that both girls helped me to prepare.
Another great example was our weekend trip to Chickasaw Nation. We visited museums, historic sites and had a great time educating our daughters and taking in all that ChickasawCountry has to offer. Our daughters marveled at the primitive weapons and tools in the Arbuckle Historical Society Museum, so much so that we created an assignment out of it. We went back to the car and had them retrieve their notebooks (we always bring notebooks).
Inside, they had to locate what they felt was the most useful piece of Native American ingenuity, and talk about how it was used, why it was the most useful, and what modern tool or weapon keeps them from using it to this day. While my daughters aren’t necessarily huge fans of impromptu schooling (it happens pretty regularly), they do enjoy the freedom that this sort of curriculum gives them. They’ve come to accept the fact that sometimes school happens on a Saturday, and we take a day off on a Tuesday… that’s just our life.
I could wax poetic about homeschool for another several days, but I think I’ll close this post here. Hopefully I’ve encouraged some of you to think about ways that you can educate your child, while not relying on the typical school day routine. While those days are necessary to a point, they aren’t the only way to educate your children. Think outside the box and I believe you’ll see educational opportunities everywhere.
What are some creative ways you’ve taught your kids?