Emily and I have recently had a couple of discussions on what exactly homeschooling IS.
This past Monday, we were driving towards Belton, two cleaning appointments, the library, and bank all ahead of us and Emily asked, “So we aren’t going to do homeschooling today, are we, Mama?”
“Well, homeschooling is learning,” I responded, “and learning happens all the time. So if you are asking if we are going to spend any time in the homeschool room today, I’d say ‘probably not’, but if you are asking if you are going to learn anything today, I’d say ‘absolutely!'”
I reminded her about this past Saturday when we had seen a raccoon out in the middle of the day – often a concerning sign of rabies (it didn’t have rabies, the house it was hiding out in burned down that evening, so it probably was just out trying to get away from the local punks).
We had talked about rabies, and explained that raccoons were nocturnal while we were typically diurnal creatures.
Emily, reminded of the talk, struggled with the word diurnal until I asked her if she would like to write it down and see how it looked. As I drove, I spelled it slowly for her. She decided to write it twice, and then asked for the spelling of nocturnal. After that, she decided to make a list of animals and indicate if they were nocturnal or diurnal.
Later, during our first cleaning, I heard her jingling the change in her pocket. She had picked it up on the way out of the door that morning. “How much change do you have there?” I asked her.
She pulled out four quarters, a nickel and a penny, began to count the smaller coins, stopped and said, “Oh, that’s right, you said to count the big ones first, huh?”
“Yes, it makes it a little easier to add.”
“I have four quarters, that makes a dollar. And then I have five plus one, that makes six.”
“So you have a dollar and…”
“A dollar and six cents!”
I showed her how to write the numbers out as currency, complete with the decimal point, and showed her some other examples of currency in decimal form. She’s starting to understand it.
The most important thing I see is her willingness and curiosity to learn. I had tried using worksheets, but she really did not respond well to them. I had then compounded the error by insisting she do the worksheets, and that had led to a backlash of “I don’t want to homeschool!”
Things are returning these days to a more natural state of learning – almost effortless, organic, and fun. Her curiosity gets the best of her. And I enjoy feeding that curiosity neat facts and ideas, which lead to more conversations and more adventures and more…you guessed it…questions.