Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A {LIFE} of Learning

Something I am discovering {and pondering } is the difference between school and learning. Education comes in many packages, homeschooling, unschooling, public schooling, private schooling, online schooling, charter schooling.....and then there are styles from Montessori, Waldorf, classical, traditional, progressive, eclectic....oh my I could go on.

The point is, there is learning involved. And creating a life of learning outside of what we call school, takes effort and intention. It requires an awareness to life and the world around us, how it interacts with all of the subject areas. It takes someone willing to incorporate learning into every possible moment, not just when the timer goes of and we "do school".

That isn't easy! It takes a creative and open mind to find ways to help our children explore and engage with the world. It takes extra energy and flexibility at times. But as you open yourself to learning during life and not just "school", finding opportunities to grow and expand are everywhere. Here are some examples I've found just in the last few days.....

J: "Mom what Time is it?"
Me: "It's 3:35"
It's great that you've asnwered your child's question, but can we make this a learning opportunity?? YOU BET!

Me: "What do you think kiddo, is it AM or PM?"
J: "I don't know."
Me: "AM in time is used when it's still morning, PM is used after lunch and into night time. Is it still morning or afternoon?"
J: "Well we ate lunch already's PM!"

Even Better:
You can go on to do a variety of things, if your child is still interested. Pushing learning past the point of interest doesn't actually get the results you want. But if your child is still engaged you can do a variety of different things. Ask them to find a digital and an analog clock around the house. Inquire about each of these. As about the numbers before the dots and after. What the hands of the clock mean. Count the numbers, count by fives. Your goal here is not to give a full lesson on telling time, but to connect something you have taught with real life. 

I find my kids are very open in these times to gathering new information in a very relaxed way. And these opportunities are everywhere. 

Recently Ellie and I took a trip to the Outdoor Garden center at our Walmart. We could have looked through the pretty flowers and went on our way. But instead we took time to look at different plants, we studied the flowering Eggplant plants and talked about how each flower would grow into an Eggplant. We looked at carnivorous Pitcher plants (yes they had some by the way!) and talked about how they ate bugs! And why! We looked at different seeds, talked about what they needed to grow. Read the backs of plant tags and talked about which plants needed a lot of sunlight and which needed less and why.

Yes, this took some time. And yes, my little girl is a talker so we could go on and on about plants. But we had a full lesson on horticulture right here in Walmart with no worksheets,fancy websites or crafts (all of which I love by the way) I simply took an opportunity to be with her, and talk and explore. And if we find questions I can't answer, we can extend learning to websites and book when we get home! We bought some seeds she picked out and took 5 minutes to plant them so we could watch them grow! There are so many ways you can continue to expand that one opportunity into a whole host of learning! Create a plant journal with drawings, observations, writing, measuring and science all rolled into one.

My point is, learning doesn't have to be during the hours of 9am to 12pm, it doesn't have to revolve around textbooks and workbooks and worksheets. It can grow out of the simplest times in life and really make an impact on your child! If you are willing to look for those opportunities and grab hold of them!

1 comment:

  1. Our "Schooling" definitely looks like this. =)