Friday, October 26, 2007

Homeschooling is a Lifestyle Not a Lesson Plan

I have been participating in the Homeschool Open House Homeschool Weekly Reporters. I realized I am writing in those summaries, not just about curriculum and learning done as intentional lessons but other life stuff. Why?

The reason is because homeschooling is a lifestyle. It is not just a ‘lesson plan’. Many things affect homeschooling and to not tell of those things would make it unclear to my blog readers why we are doing what we are doing. For example to explain why we didn’t do lessons five days a week or to explain why we are doing ‘catch up’ work the next week, I am being honest in saying we did less than expected, and I want to include the reasons to explain why. For example, we did less two weeks ago as some of my time was spent at a wake and a funeral. We didn’t do less as we’re lazy or undisciplined or because I’m following some certain homeschool methodology that tells me to do less.

My children’s education does not just take place between 8am and 4pm or some other daytime hour span from Monday through Friday. Also some things that educate my children and affect their intelligence, academic achievement and developmental stages have to do with how they spend time in their life that is not just the ‘formal lessons’ of homeschooling. My children are affected negatively and positively by what they see in movies, on television, whether they play video games or not, what games they play, and what they read. Whether or not children play is of vital importance to their development. Whether or not children get physical exercise is vital not just to their weight or physical fitness or their appearance but it affects their gross motor skills as well as fine motor skills and hand/eye coordination.

Last night I was thinking that those weekly summaries are going to be good to look back on, for me. I have never done anything like that before.

My Children and Their Play

In August friend was asking me how my ten year old plays, what he does with his free time, what kinds of games he plays with, or toys. In the last few weeks, I have been noticing that my boys are lately playing certain things by themselves then other things when together. This is a change from what has happened for years which is that they are always playing everything together. Seeing my children change, especially my older son who is acting more grown-up lately, is interesting. So lately, for example, when my older son chooses to read and study Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and to think about strategy, I’m noticing my younger son is alone and he starts playing with ‘younger kid toys’ which are age-appropriate, but ones that he’d abandoned in order to just play what his older brother wanted to play, for quite some time.

My boys had always played well together. Of the two my older son is the leader and my younger son is a follower. In a discussion last spring, it came out that my younger son wants to play with my older son and he chose to defer to my older son’s wishes of what to do. He was not upset about it, and there was not ever conflict, but he just did what his older brother wanted to do and was happy playing at whatever it was. This discussion came up when I said to my kids that my younger son never seemed as interested in the wooden train set (Thomas the Tank Engine) as his older brother was. My younger son said he still loves to play with it but just that my older son won’t play it with him so he has not taken the time to play with the set. Interesting.

So to answer that question about how my sons spend their free time, and for my own record keeping, as of next week’s report I am going to add a new short list for each of my children and a short list of both of them together, to tell what their favorite games and toys were of that week, the things that they chose to spend their time playing with that week. I’ll include toys, board games, card games and anything else they are doing with their spare time. I also am going to jot down some of what they choose to read in their spare time, the reading they do of their own free will.

I have no clue if any of my blog readers cares about that information but I know I will.

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1 comment:

Mary Grace said...

I enjoyed your thoughts and yes, I fully agree that a lesson plan is not the end-all-be-all of homeschooling. It cracks me up that folks think that out there, somewhere is *the* perfect curriculum that is going to make their child a well-rounded, well-educated little individual. As if such a thing exists!