Monday, November 22, 2010

I Try Not to Let Schooling Get in the Way of Learning

It's hard sometimes.  My I'm-Trying-to-Be-Super-Homeschool-Mom-and-Check-off-All-the-Boxes-in-Our Curriculum Self squirms at times when things don't go according to schedule.  Take this morning, for example...

Exhibit A:
Josiah's latest self-guided project is writing the Bible.  Well, let me clarify:  copying it. By hand.  In a small 5x7 notebook with shiny red hearts on the front.  Is he adorable, or what?  :)  He started yesterday, and so far he's up to Genesis 1:11--only 31,162 verses to go!  I love his heart and determination, and I'm glad that he's gaining a new appreciation for the countless scribes throughout history who have taken it upon themselves to laboriously, painstakingly write by hand each word of the holy text.  We may not remember their names, but we can never forget their contribution.

My point in this post, however, is to record how, while Josiah was bent over his task at the school desk in the living room, I was thinking, "OK, it's time for me to tell him to stop because we need to do a lesson from First Language Lessons."   Hello?  Schoolmarm Fisher?  Anybody at home in your head?  WHY would you ask him to stop?  After all, he's writing--happily (something he doesn't always do), he's reading, he's learning grammar and sentence structure, he's reinforcing capitalization and punctuation rules, and it's the Bible!  Don't let your lesson plan get in the way of real learning!

Exhibit B:
A big yellow tractor was camped out in our neighbor's side yard, digging a hole in the ground.  We weren't sure why, but David wanted to be a detective and go outside to watch and find out.  Should I let him sit under our maple tree to observe, or should I make him stay inside and read a book about...oh, I don't know...maple trees, or tractors, or holes in the ground?  Duh.  The answer is obvious.  But what about the science books we're supposed to be reading??

Exhibit C:
Grandma was outside hanging laundry on her clothesline.  One of the boys spotted her, and the cry went up, "Grandma's outside!  Can we go down and play on her playground?"   Sure, why not?  Who needs dodgeball in P.E. class when you can swing and slide and climb a ladder and grab hold of a rope to see if you can hold your weight above the ground (probably to keep yourself safe from the vicious crocodiles on the ground all around or the lava that's flowing from a fiery volcano)?  And then our friend Ronnie, who is laying tile in my dad's old office in preparation for my parents moving into it, came out of the office and over to where my mom and three sons were.  Shortly, I saw a procession of legs walking into the office to see the progress.  Sunshine, fresh air, time with Grandma, watching a real live floor-layer in action, seeing the work that goes into putting down tile, seeing what a floor looks like under the floor--such good stuff.  But wait, I should have called them to come inside because we didn't read our Aesop's Fable for the day!  Right??

Don't get me wrong:  we are not unschoolers, we do have (loose) lesson plans (and I love our Sonlight curriculum for the flexibility it gives!), I do strive to make sure we cover all the bases so there aren't huge gaps in my children's education, and we do spend a lot of time on the couch reading books.  But I'm learning--and it's a process--that when opportunities come along for real-life education, it's time to throw the schedule out the window, and just live.

And learn.  Because that's what this homeschooling stuff is all about.


Valerie said...

Oh, Davene, you warm my heart!! You SO get it!! So many young homeschool moms DO let schooling get in the way of learning...and it is so sad to see. God has truly gifted you with understanding and wisdom of this wonderful adventure called learning...and you are doing a GREAT job!! BTW, did you know there IS actually a well-thought of language arts program where a student COPIES from a great piece of literature (like the Bible!) and that is their grammar and writing work for the day. Read about some ideas for that here: After Josiah finishes copying the Bible , he can start on those projects. He may also enjoy getting a book from the library about illuminations---the large decorative letters that scribes used in the lovely translations of the Bible.
You are doing "delight-directed" school; Gregg Harris would be so proud of you!!

I am also!
Love to all the Fishers!!
<3 Valerie

Stephanie B. said...

Oh, Davene, I could so identify with this post. I too am geared towards structure and sticking to the lesson plans. I'm learning a little more each year. Maybe I'll have it down pat by the time the fourth one starts school!

Aliesha & Tad said...

What a wonderful post! I'm going to link to it on my blog, AND bookmark it to re-read every so often! You are an example to me. :)

Davene said...

Thank you, friends! You are so encouraging to me. :)

I forgot to mention another example from this morning. Here is Exhibit D, if you will...

David asked to listen to our audio recording of Dr. Doolittle this morning at breakfast, so I turned it on for him. It's kind of a long CD, so after a while, once I saw that all the boys were done eating, I thought, "I'd better turn it off now and tell the boys to go upstairs to change their clothes and do their morning routine." But on second thought, why? They're happy and peaceful, they're learning just by listening, and it's not like we have to rush out the door to go anywhere. Why not let them sit there and listen as long as they're interested? So I did, and they did, all the way to the end of the CD. Too many times, I catch myself rushing my sons and I realize--regretfully--that my default mode is "Hurry." Even when there's no reason in the world to hurry, I find myself urging them to do it faster: whatever IT is.

I'm gonna work on that...

Jolanthe said...

Amen. :)

Luke said...

Absolutely excellent post! Totally agree.


Misty said...

Love it, Davene! I definitely need to force myself to let the learning that is happening in front of my face be "enough" so to speak. Oftentimes it is even better than what I had planned. I love that Josiah is copying the Bible. Trinity has been doing that for some time now on the computer. She has a document saved on my desktop called She's quite a good chunk through Genesis!

Homeschool on the Croft said...

I can soooo identify with this. I am not the most organised person on the face of the earth (understatement of the year!), so I do kind of need a timetable of sorts. But I swing between loving the 'being able to break with routine and go with the flow'.... and ... 'but Maths needs to be done before breaktime'! The other day, our wee guy was able to have his whole day 'off', and go to sheep sales with his uncle. Now *that* is a real benefit of homeschooling. He was on cloud nine!
Love your cameos here. Thanks for posting.
Love, Anne x

Pam said...

Love the post Davene. I homeschooled our first four from start to finish, and this was definitely one of the things I kept learning over and over... and oh to find those that gave me permission to conclude what you have concluded. I struggled with guilt because there is a world system that has attempted to dictate what learning and schooling is "supposed" to look like. How delightful to come to peace with the idea that it does not have to look the way the worlds says it should, and how wonderful to be free in the Lord to discover many great avenues of learning.

Thank you so much for your comment on my blog
I always love your comments. I love that your parents live so close.l It is one of my dreams that we can live close to our children one of these days.
I love hearing how your boys got so excited that "Grandma was outside." such a sweet picture.
May the Lord Bless you and keep you. May you have a blessed Thanksgiving,
Much Love, Pam

Liz @ said...

I found this from Feathers in our Nest. Thank you for your insight. My husband and I are prayerfully considering homeschooling. It's nice to see how other Christ followers "educate" their kiddos.