For the last few weeks before we took time off for camp, I was somewhat falling into the trap of 'are my kids really learning'? With this being my first year of homeschooling, this is a worry that is on my mind often. I find things that I feel are beneficial, but then am unsure of what to take out of our 'curriculum' to compensate for the outside learning time.
I came home today excited to catch up on blogging, the blogs that I read, emails, etc. While reading 'Simple Homeschool', I came across this article on children and their need for play. Plain 'ol free play...unstructured, unplanned, play. It was a big comfort to me today.
When we came home for the 3 days in the middle of our 'vacation'....my older 2 girls did their 'curriculum' schoolwork, but I didn't require any extra work. This essentially gave them 2 weeks off school. They came home to toys that were, apparently, seemingly new to them and they played for hours with them. My girls are 11, 9, 5, and 3 and we didn't hear a peep out of them for most of the 3 days we were home. Their rooms are in the basement (2 have their own and the little two share a room) and they had one set up as a bank, one as a house, and one as a school or something. I even heard my 2nd oldest say, "Well, do you have something to read because I get bored when I am waiting for them to get home from school".
I was somewhat feeling guilty because they weren't 'schooling' while we were taking a break from vacation, but I have a hard time breaking up play time when they are genuinely enjoying each other. They fight way more than I would like, so when these times of harmony come up I don't want to interrupt it. The above mentioned article made me feel better concerning that type of play.
It confirmed that I don't have to be anxious about 'wasting school time'. This is the flexibility that I enjoy with homeschooling. They are not over pressured to preform. They can take the time to just be kids.
When they were in school, I was always told at conferences that my kids were bright. They were the ones that helped others when they finished they're work early. Now that I am stepping back and looking at it, maybe it's because we let them play. We encouraged them to play. We made them go outside. All of these things encourage their natural desire to learn. They were 'teaching' themselves because we weren't making them, at 18mo or 2 years old sit down and learn their colors or numbers or alphabet. There was no need to cram education down their throat......they needed to be kids. They needed play, free play....not structured play dates or way-to-early pre-school.
So, as we dive back into routine, I am going to keep in mind that if we miss a lesson to go for a walk and talk about bugs or watch a video that teaches character or play 'house' instead of an extra history lesson that this is what makes intelligent, well rounded adults.....the ability to just be a kid.
|bedtime on vacation|