Do you ever get tired of school work? Do you ever feel like you want to make learning more meaningful for your children? There are so many ways your children can learn outside a classroom! Here are a few of our favorites.
1) Get out of the house! I have been very guilty of not doing the past few years. It can be difficult to get four children out of the house, especially when they are young (and potty training!). But this year I am resolving to get out of the house more. Kids can learn so much when they are in a new atmosphere. It doesn’t have to be an expensive place either. Go on a hike. Go for a walk. Go exploring. Plant a garden. Get familiar with your local area and connect with other parents. You will open up a whole new world for your children…and they will create some great memories!
2) Books, books, books. Never underestimate the power of a book! I love it when my kids come up and tell me some random piece of information that I know I have not intentionally taught them. How did they learn it? Through a book! I do my best to have a library basket full of books that pertain to what we are studying. Each child has 30 minutes of silent reading each day, and we read aloud every night. I am not above using picture books with all of my kids, older and younger. There are just some incredible books out there! Their imaginations are sparked when we visit new places through books.
3) Spend time together in the kitchen. The kitchen can be a wonderful and fun classroom. Kids are learning math, science, reading, and cooperation. How many textbooks can claim that? Again, with small children in the house (and living in a house with a very small kitchen) this can be tricky. But I am working on being intentional with raising kitchen helpers. Thanks to some of the great recipes in A Child’s Geography, we have had wonderful cooking sessions together (and some delicious snacks afterward!). Kids can often be much more helpful in the kitchen than we give them credit for.
4) Don’t stop the questions. Don’t be annoyed when your children ask you question after question after question (I know, easier said than done!). But this is how they begin to understand things! How does this work? Why does this look like that? Who made this? How did they do it? What is that? This is their age of discovery and the more questions they ask the more they will know. And don’t be afraid that you won’t have the right answer. Show them how to find the answer. Teach them to be life-long learners.
5) Interest-led learning. What do your children love? What interests them? Let them study about these things. Even if you have another curriculum you are following, save some time for your children to explore things on their own. Whether that is one day a week, or one week a month, or one month a year, let them follow their interests and learn more about them. I am finding the kids remember much more about those things they are interested in than forcing them to learn about things they “should” be learning. I realize not all of schooling can be this way, but I think a good portion of it can be!
Learning does not need to be in a classroom. My kids learn so much more from real experiences and books than they ever do filling out a worksheet. I sense this is the beginning of some big changes in our homeschool. What are some of your favorite ways to learn outside of the classroom?