Friday, August 22, 2014

What Does a Week of Always (Or Is it Never) Schooling Look Like?


My computer screen has been lit up lately with back-to-school posts and pictures from and brick-and-mortar school and homeschool friends alike.  Truth be told, I'm just not ready for that!

For summer is still in full swing here and I am planning to enjoy experiencing every last bit of it with my kiddoes.  (Much like I was doing in the picture above that my friend Annemarie captured of me playing with Jack at the beach this past Tuesday!)

Always (Or Is It Never)-Schooling

Of course, that doesn't mean we aren't "school"ing.  We just are not "back-to-school"ing, because, in our view, we are always "school"ing (or never "school"ing depending on how you look at it.   For, we've come to recognize that life is schooling and schooling is life.  

There's just too little divide betwixt living and learning for us these days to allow us to demarcate when we go "back" to school.

Take what was happening in the picture above, for example.  Luke, Nina and Jack have been loving the Swiss Family Robinson lately.  We've listened to two different narrators sharing the unabridged version of the story on CD, watched both the original Disney film of the movie and the more modern one and read graphic novels and abridged children's editions of the story.  

(NOTE:  I've put some of the Swiss Family Robinson resources we've been enjoying in the carousel below for your convenience.  If you click through and purchase anything at Amazon, we may receive compensation at no cost to you.  Thank you for supporting us this way should you wish to do so!)

Inspired by all that, the children and their friends began building a fort the other day - completely self-directed at a beach we had met at for homeschool gathering.  They creatively used dried grasses to make traps and fortifications.  (In the photo, Nina and her friend are preparing a trip line!)  Then, when the grasses sliced into Jack's finger, another child used nearby vegetation to begin first aid.

Is this life or learning?  I'd say a beautiful mix of both!

Of Marine Biology, Personal Growth and Harmony

And, what do you call this?  School or life?

We were at a wrap-up session of a Marine Biology mini co-op when Luke, moved over to help a little friend across rocks without any prompting.  I thought, Wow! He's come so far.  

There was a time not too long past when Luke could not stand the sensory experience of sand nor water, when just getting himself to cross a shoreline was everything he could do -- and often necessitated Mom or Dad help.  And, there was also a time when mastering typical age-appropriate social skills seemed a far distant goal.  Yet, there my boy was evidencing with a simple kindness how many life skills he has mastered in recent months.

Marine Biology lesson?  Sure, we had it that day.  But the true learning lay in so many other areas...When kids of varying ages play and chat, and chat and play, and play and chat some more, all day long without one "I'm bored' and with little to no skirmishes, I think, Harmony and happiness.  I want this reality to take over everything.

My "Tribe" (Or a Part of It)

This summer, we have spent so much time with these folks sharing little pieces of heaven on earth.   (And with several other families who are not in the picture.)

As anyone knows, relationships are so important; community is key. We have, this summer, found ideal community - similar styles, values, education choice, ages, interests and all that - with just enough differences to make things interesting without causing cringe-worthy incidents or undue angst during get-togethers.  

I recognize that not only has God always blessed me with knowing great folks (some from the past that I miss so much!), but also that this past year, especially, He has perfectly placed some friendships for my family - ones where everyone connects well in so many ways. I could not be more grateful!

Coming Home to Daddy!

Of course, while outside-the-family relationships are valuable, the rock-solid love between Daddy and the kids is priceless.  

It so warms my heart each time the children come home to Daddy or Daddy comes home to them and they move toward one another to share.

In the case pictured above, Luke came home from an outing with me and began sharing with Daddy one of his many plans.  Daddy whole-heartedly showed interest, asking Luke questions about the ideas in the drawing.

Cold Kids, Warm Hearts

For the record, Daddy also gets out with us, sometimes bearing wet, ice-cold beach hugs when he doe.  What a champ!

Yep, Well Be Rarely-at-Home-Schooling Until the Weather Turns

This photo depicts the start of an ideal day.

In it, you might notice some children who appear not to be paying attention.  Trust me, they were.  Just not to the book or to the child who was commenting on it.  Instead, as this photo was snapped, a couple children had just heard a vehicle pull in and had realized, with delight, that friends we did not expect to come to our meeting had surprised us by showing up.

We welcomed them enthusiastically before continuing with learning and fun for the day.  
And, that, in a nut shell is what I expect my family will continue to do as summer unfolds into fall -- be out and about, with delight and welcome, often with happy surprises, as we live, learn and share.

Much as this week was, with all the things pictured above, plus a Lego Build night, a carnival at Daddy's work, a visit with family from out-of-town, the playground with friends, imaginative play outside, quiet times at thome and so much more, I forsee many weeks of fulfilling always (or is it never?) schooling this coming season!

Do the lines between life and learning blur in your home, too?  What is afoot for you and yours as you embrace the wonderful opportunities the final weeks of this season brings?

Sharing at Conversion Diary, Managing Your Blessings, Pebble Pond,  Weird Socialized Homeschoolers and Home to 4 Kiddos.

Weekly Wrap-Up


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