Some days you just don’t want to sit at a desk and do work. Or, conversely, you don’t want to stare at a computer screen. I can remember plenty of days in my school career where I would stare out the window longingly at the larger world outside, and wish beyond anything to just not be in that classroom. I’m fairly certain that I didn’t learn much on those days. Once in a while, a teacher would take the classroom outside, and we’d sit in the fresh air and sunshine, which helped, but still … that wasn’t what I needed.
As homeschoolers, we have the freedom and flexibility, to a point, to allow the kids to have that time outside when they need it. There are days when I just look at my kids and know that we won’t be learning much at all if they don’t soak up some sun, and perhaps run around for a few hours. My 5th grade daughter will sometimes come to me in the middle of a science lesson, or perhaps math, and just say “Mama, I really need a break. Can I go outside?” Sometimes I’m tempted to say no; because I’m afraid we’ll lose progress or fall behind in where we need to be. But then I remember staring out that window when I was in school, and say yes.
There are other ways to allow that time out of the homeschooling classroom, and yet still continue learning, often without them even knowing. Today, for instance, I’m planning to take the kids to a local science museum. It’s about an hour away, and we have a family membership that I’d like to take full advantage of. We recently got about a foot of snow, so the kids have gotten a little stir crazy since it’s been too cold to play outside for long.
At the science museum, the kids learn – without even realizing it – about sound and how it carries across long distances, shadows, constructing with Lego’s, mixing different substances, and much, much more. They run around excitedly “playing,” yet learning valuable science lessons that I can’t duplicate at home. My daughter, of course, gleans the most from this, and talks about it all the way home every time we go.
Tomorrow, we can pick the exhibit she found the most interesting, and do a little research online so she can learn even more. Then, I’ll have her write a paper or perhaps do a little project, which she’ll be thrilled to do because it involves something she found so fun and interesting.
And it’s all because I let her out of the classroom when she stared longingly out the window.