Creating a Lifestyle of Learning – My Definition

A few weeks ago, I had a sort of epiphany.  I’ve always wanted a very fluid homeschooling atmosphere where school just sort of slides into life, but implementing this vision in all areas of homeschooling didn’t seem possible.  However, after rereading Educating the Wholehearted Child, I decided I had to try.  That’s what this new series of posts is going to be about…me working to bring our entire day into line with a lifestyle of learning.

Perhaps, before anything, I ought to define what I mean by a lifestyle of learning and what my vision for that looks like.

God’s Word first and foremost in EVERYTHING.  The day starts there, the day ends there, the day is permeated by the Lord’s precepts, principles and love.

Why?
Because “fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,” and without Him, all else is simply information that “puffs up.”  In the end, it will not matter how smart my children appeared to the world if their relationship with Christ is nonexistent.

How?
First of all, my relationship with Christ must be evident and I must speak of Him and His precepts in everything we do.  Our day should be kicked off with Scripture and Bible study, not another academic subject.  All other subjects should relate back to His glory.  This doesn’t mean I have to only use “religious” materials in our homeschool, but it does mean that EVERYTHING must be viewed through a Christian worldview lens.

Very little Textbook learning.

Why?
While textbooks can be useful to teach from in many cases, they tend to create a stilted atmosphere within the home and fail to encourage a child to dig deeper and look for ways to implement what they are learning into their own lives.  They do not “own” the information.

How?
The two hardest subjects for me to blend into our day are math and grammar.  These two just seem to be textbook subjects; however, I am working really hard toward finding new ways to present math and grammar lessons in a less textbookish way – even it that simply means I supplement rather than totally do away with the workbooks.

Dialogue, Dialogue, Dialogue

Why?
I’ve said it a million times before, but I always seem to need the reminder myself!  We should be spending a goodly amount of our day conversing with our children because it is imperative they learn to apply knowledge to the world around them.  You are a wealth of information for them simply because you are older and have lived more years.  You are also their filter for quite some time.  Things they encounter need your guiding hand and wisdom.

How?
It takes conscious, purposeful parenting.  It may even take setting aside time just for discussing things.  No matter what it ends up looking like, the bottom line is being engaged.

I’m sure there is more to this Lifestyle of Learning equation, but these are the big ones for me.  Of course, I’m also still fleshing this one out, so bear with me.  In the meantime, I would love to have some of you chime in with either your definition of a lifestyle of learning or some things you’ve done to steer school in that direction.  I’m on the lookout for good ideas!

Other Lifestyle of Learning Posts:
History
Grammar
Handwriting
Foreign Language
Math
Phonics & Reading
More Phonics & Reading
Science

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36 thoughts on “Creating a Lifestyle of Learning – My Definition

  1. I am in pursuit of the same thing. Sadly I do have to do quite a chunk of textbook learning as registration with our state government has strict guidelines… however, I try to schedule Bible and “applying Bible to life” lessons as much as I can. I also try to converse with my children a lot like you’re writing about.
    I really enjoyed reading this – and you reminded me that my purpose this school term was to start the day with God’s Word… I’ve kind of fallen away on that because my children often aren’t ready to begin school at the same time, so I tend to send the one who is ready off to get their textbook lessons out the way early…. which then pushes Bible to the end of our school day when all else is done. So thank you for the reminder! :)

    • Currently, the olders are doing independent Bible study to begin the day and then we are doing the more corporate stuff a bit later when they are both at a stopping point. You might try that.

      I’ve wondered what this would look like in a stricter state, and if there was any way around it. hmmmm….

      • I only have two little ones at the moment, and being that they are only 15 months apart in age, we do all our Bible lessons and studies together :) But that is something to keep in mind if/when the Lord blesses us with more Little Ones! Thank you Amy!

  2. Hi Amy, I too am trying to do this. We have co-op’ed for the last three years, all subjects two days per week. It was a wonderful, small, Christian group of families! But God has led us to something new this year. We are all together, working on everything at home. You mentioned math and grammar… I found a great book for Math that we are doing together as a family. It is called Journeys in Numberland. I downloaded it from google books, liked it so much, I ordered a printed copy. We all sit down together, age 2-9, 5 kids, with a white board on the floor and whatever else we need and do together. My kids are still doing math books in addition (strayer-upton series) but they are so different from what we’ve done in the past (Horizons) that it is like a breath of fresh air. Very little writing, very different method of teaching. I love all of these books, and I am not a math person. We are trying to do as much of our work together as we can… History, Science, etc. Beautiful Feet and Apologia are great for us, they always turn us back to the Word. Language Arts, I have made my own curriculum using McGuffey’s for the little one. Olders are using Emma Serl’s PLL and ILL books. I find that they are much more friendly for our new style of homeschooling. I would love to trade ideas with you if you have any great ones! Sorry this got to be so long. I hope some of it is helpful to you.

    • I’m going to look into that math book! I’ve used Serl’s books in the past, but my children weren’t very fond of them. Wonder if I should try again?

  3. This is how we view education in our home as well. It’s a lifestyle, incorporated into everything. We all start our mornings with quiet time with the Lord independently, then one of us asks about what our oldest daughter (7) read and learned. We do have textbooks and use them daily, but that’s just formal school. Throughout the day, our oldest asks a million questions and we don’t hesitate to help make each one a learning experience for her. And her absolute favorite non-formal learning time? Baking and cooking with mama lol

  4. Very much looking forward to this series!

    I fail so badly at conversing sometimes. I’m a quiet person by nature so talking is not an easy thing. I imagine my almost three yr old daughter tagging along with me room to room as I explain the way things are done and her asking her cutesy little questions. However, it ends up her being completely uninterested in anything I say and trotting off to find a pony or a doll. And there I am, talking to myself like a loon. As if the wall cares why we seperate clothes. ;)

  5. this sounds the same as what we strive for! I have a 11,10,9 5, 3, and 1 year old . we use sonlight as our base for the older dd’s. the only textbook we have used is singapore math textbook and we started that two years ago when dd was just turning 9- 3 days a week. i have many math curriculums and use them for a personal guide as to what my children should know- then i incorporate those things into the day when possible. Telling time, counting, money ect.my children do get a monthy allowance for that reason. we also have used “math it” here and there to get the facts down in a simple way. mostly its discussing the value and ways math is used day to day and letting the children do it and see the value of it. just by “living math” day to day and a little “math it” your children can easily start saxon math 5/4 and possibly 6/5 when they have a desire for something “more” formal.. textook.
    for grammer we have used sonlights la- but none of the extera opt resources. i do think up until 10 or so most things can be learned hands on and in life… but now that my dd is just turning 11 I’m thinking some workbooks may be needed for math and grammar?- i purchased grammar ace and the complete book of english and language arts.. to touch on what is needed in a workbookish approach. it takes more planning and creativity on the parent to make it happen without workbooks. for writing till about 9 years we use real life writing..journals, letters to family, lists that are applicable like shopping, pet supplies, writing summaries of a subject of interest… then we used a few years of sonlights la(not sure if i’ll use this again)it was good but still workbook like and im not sure if enough was retained without having to be retaught again anyway!… this year we will use institute for excellence in writing for my ll yr old and 10 yr old in a coop taught class. i plan to use the concepts learned in IEW but the topics to be out of a rabbit book/ww2 book(my childrens current interest).
    real life learning works! but now my oldest is ready and wanting a little more textbook or intense approach-but she is wanting it. she sees the value of improving her writing and grammar as well as the need for higher math. and she is old enough to persue most of it on her own with just a bit of help!

    • So far, I have very good writers, so I’d like to keep them going in that direction. However, I get such conflicting reviews…they must diagram, they must write X-amount of research papers before this age, and on and on. I’m just not sure how much of that info is truth.

      As for math, I do like the idea of making it a 3/week subject and the rest of the time filling in with real life.

      I already have children who love to learn and want to capitalize on that and fully create the ideal learning atmosphere in our home. I so appreciate your input! :)

  6. While I haven’t read that exact book, I have heard many great reviews and it’s on my to read book list!!! I would also recommend you read into the Thomas Jefferson Education {TJED} style of learning. I have read many books on this style, love it…. don’t implement it completly, but use many ideas and resources I have read about.
    I am interested in seeing how this goes. I just found your blog and have enjoyed reading.

  7. I loved this post. This is my heart on the whole “home-school” matter. Jonathon Lindvall has a very good audio that you can listen to at his boldchristianliving website about home-school vs discipleship. I too have been hoping to head toward this approach (the last couple of weeks have been hard/tired, as I’m pregnant with no 9.) I have a math set called Life of Fred that I ordered from a math prof in the US. It’s good for those who are probably better at english and don’t enjoy maths…it’s very funny…well me and the children think so. So I’ve been thinking of doing a white/chalkboard idea with everyone together and see how that goes. You do the math problems 10 of them and then you read what happens to Fred (so an entertaining story to boot:-) Thank you for the Bible study suggestion, I’ll look at it because I want our day to focus on His Word and how it fits into life.

  8. Amy, thank you for this post. I have been home educating for 4 years now. My 3 older children spent a couple of years at a Christian school working in paces. When I began, I wanted to do what I knew was school (desks, chalkboards, text books, centers, etc. (LOL!)) I found out quickly with my kiddos that it would not work. My kiddos have always been a proponent of play. Yay! To the outside eye, it would look like we never do any school work, but my kids learn so much from the everyday life that we live. I own a laundromat and my kids are learning how to run the business. They help my customers when they have questions about how to run a machine all the way to checking in laundry that has been dropped off for washing to giving change. It has been a great experience for them because they get the well talked about “socialization” that people never think homeschoolers get :-D. My customers bring them things like crayons or artifacts from their travels and talk to them about their experiences growing up. I used to question my choice in our very relaxed learning environment, but I continued to research what others have done in the home educating realm and have come to the conclusion like you have, Amy, that teaching our children Biblical principles, and how to love, and treat others with respect and finding a Biblical worldview for all of life, are the most important thing that our children should be learning. The Bible says in Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” and in Luke 12:31 it says, “But seek His kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” I see education falling in line with these verses, don’t you? I found a helpful website. It’s called Lifestyle Homeschool. http://www.lifestyle-homeschool.com/index.html
    Amy, thank you for your great blog! I enjoy reading every bit of it!

    • I absolutely do see education falling in line with the verses you mentioned as well as the “classic homeschooling” verses in Deuteronomy 6. Thank you so much for the link! I look forward to reading through it!

  9. My 6 children enjoyed reading Abeka textbooks/workbooks. We had heard of a school here on Long Island that stopped using textbooks years ago – for the younger grades. Abeka may be the exception-health, science, history/geography,writing/grammar. Christianlibertypress.com sells some Abeka. My young children liked them as read alouds. We did about 50%-80% of Abeka grammar.

  10. My children liked Modern Curriculum Press Math sold through Christianlibertypress.com. The workbooks are just under $20. Teacher’s Manuals are separate. We’ve been homeschooling since 1984 and tried almost everything.

  11. Love it! Our homeschool philosophy is that we want to teach our children to love to learn, teach them how to learn and provide an atmosphere for learning. No preset curriculum, few textbooks (if any) and plenty of learning through everyday life. I’m actually toward the end of a series on homeschooling that began with a post explaining our philosophy. It looked very similar to this post, so I’m glad to know that this philosophy works as well with larger families as it does with our small one. Thanks so much for sharing!

  12. Hi! Found your site after debating/praying about the idea of adopting more children (a sibling group of 5 boys from Texas ranging from 2-7 yrs old). We homeschool our 11 yr old (also adopted son) at home now. We reside in Charlotte NC. My husband is a pastor. He is a little concerned about the sheer number of kids with only one bathroom in our home. So, I was wonderng if you knew of resources available for adopting families that need to add a bath to their home? Or if you have any “helps” or encouragement or thoughts about this possible undertaking? Thanks
    Laurie

  13. I really enjoyed your delight-directed series. You may want to check out http://www.queenhomeschool.com for lots of good charlotte mason style books, like Life of Fred math(so funny with little writing, but lots of interesting math), Language Lessons, and nature study books that interest your child. There’s a fb page too for questions and comments. Hope you enjoy!

  14. I wondered if you were still doing TOG? Or are you doing the All Through the Ages thing you talked about (or something else entirely?) I’ve tried putting together my own curriculum, but after hours (days? weeks?) of planning, something always puts a kink in my plans and we don’t get done nearly what I’d like to. So we wind up with the “check out a whole bunch of library books on the following subject, then read and then write.” Not a terrible plan, but I prefer a little more structure and forethought as well as the ability for my kids to know what comes next, even if I am in the 3rd-trimester brain mush phase, so having a structure to guide (without being too restrictive) me would be awesome.

    • I’m back to TOG, but in a little different way. This might sound a little crazy, considering TOG is NOT free, but I am basically using her teacher’s notes and reading them to the kids. We add in what we can, but they are LOVING it and the info is so great! I’m not able to pull that kind of stuff together, so for me the money is worth it.

  15. Almost four years later I am benefiting from your post. Thanks so much! My husband read about the family that uses delight directed learning and all their children are going to college early. So, I’m investigating this method. I love your blog and I have for a long time, so now I’m just visiting your archives.
    Thanks again!