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…
Lifestyle of Learning Definition
An educational model that incorporates learning into all aspects of life and life into all aspects of learning. It’s living books, life lessons, doing and being, active and living. It meshes well with the Charlotte Mason approach or Delight Directed approach to homeschooling, but can certainly stand on its own as a “method,” although to call it such would be removing the very nature and essence of this model. It’s truly LIFE LEARNING, where the parent strives to instill a love of learning in their child and an understanding that an education need not be measured in textbooks and tests.
So, what is my vision for this in our homeschool?
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.
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.
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.
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. Children do not “own” the information when it is dissected for them and served up in a dull manner.
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 if that simply means I supplement rather than totally do away with the workbooks.
Dialogue, Dialogue, Dialogue.
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.
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!