On our first official day of homeschooling, I had created a “modest” to-do list of reading, spelling, writing, math and history. I had prepared an inviting table area, and I had snacks and music to support my mission. But instead of caring at all about my list, my oldest child made a mobile piece of art made out of… hangers. We didn't cross anything off my list. Not one academic thing. I felt helpless and overwhelmed. At the end of the day, I questioned everything. What had I done?!? We would slip into a routine of schoolwork at the table, right?
Nope, we never got into the habit of sitting at the table for very long, and I’m so thankful. Instead of more disciplined work time, we slipped into more play time. Instead of paper and pencil, we did more slime and sidewalk chalk. Instead of table work, we did more nature walks. I regret nothing!
Studying my kids that first year of homeschooling, I found that kids learn more when they’re following their own interests. I learned that a joyful homeschool is a learning homeschool. Creative play is Writing. Shopping is Math. Everything we did supported our kids’ learning differences, mental health, and critical thinking skills. I could not have dreamed of a better learning environment.
Several years later, our family, while in New York City, visited the Met Museum. There, I spotted a piece of art that looked oddly familiar. It was a mobile made out of… hangers. I stood in awe of this simple and stunning piece of art. Somebody had gotten paid big bucks to do the thing I dismissed in my child, because IT WASN’T ON MY LIST! How many brilliant ideas and activities have we pushed to the side because it didn’t feel like a real learning experience or it wasn’t on our lists?
What do your kids love doing? How can you give that thing the value it deserves?