The second post in my series on why my own family made the choice to homeschool is about the opportunities we have to provide our kids with real world experiences.
It takes less time to teach a small group of kids (in my case 3) than it does a group of 25-35 kids. Because of this, we have a lot more free time on our hands than we would if we put the kids in public school. We are out and about in the real world as much as possible and I truly feel that these experiences have taught my children so much more than any textbook ever could.
In the past 13 months, my kids have been in seven states, have gone fossil hunting, hiked, gone on a dolphin cruise on the Gulf Coast, seen the redwoods, the Golden Gate Bridge, seen the Oregon coast, hung out on the beach in Santa Barbara, been to zoos and aquariums, enjoyed our local art museum where they saw the works of Picasso, Van Gough and Monet (also- my kids knew these artists and were excited to find their work.) They’ve toured historic villages, hunted for ghosts in the “most haunted town in Washington,” ridden horses, visited science museums, watched glassblowers create their art, stood on mountaintops, and played in the woods.
You can’t beat real world learning. On a recent trip to the Gulf Coast, we took the kids to an aquarium. All three fell in love with the dolphins there. On the drive back to the hotel, we saw a pod of dolphins playing in the bay. The kids were so excited! We decided to take them on one of the many dolphin cruises that were held nightly in the area. The kids saw countless dolphins and were able to make a ton of observations about them in their natural environment. This continued throughout the vacation and afterward as the kids researched dolphins online, drew pictures of them and read books about them. Giving them real world context made learning come alive.
That is why this blog is called “Whole Life Learning.” We are always learning. All of us. The whole family. We’ve created a lifestyle full of exploration and discovery. Each new experience is an opportunity for growth and learning. My kids are not bored in the classroom because the world is their classroom and they will never run out of things to do.
As they get older, we plan to do more of this type of learning. As a family, we’re saving for a trip to Europe. Science Kid really wants to see Stonehenge and Dancer Girl wants to see Monet’s garden. I am sure we’ll be saving for a long time, but that’s okay. I want Little Guy to get a bit older before we do any extended traveling. It’s exciting for us all to dream about the days we’ll worldschool, but there is so much to learn about stateside or even in our own neighborhood. So much has come from our nature walks and local museum trips. Being out in the world on a daily basis makes our homeschooling experience rich and fulfilling. I know it’s times like these that the kids are not only learning, but making lasting connections and memories to last a lifetime.
Do you homeschool? What real world experiences have you been able to share with your kids?
Check back tomorrow for the third post in this series!