The world is your classroom!
Part of the homeschooling journey involves parents understanding that children, by their nature, are already learning outside the workbooks we give them. Homeschooling is not just “homework.” It is a way of life. Parents take on the responsibility of educating their own children in the best classroom God gives them: the home. Parents also recognize that the “home” is not just the house: it is wherever the family is. Moreover, the surrounding environment is potential field trip location: the yard, the shops, holiday destinations, relatives’ homes, the local bush.
What’s more, everything in the world is your educational resource. Text books and workbooks are just a tiny part of the learning materials at your disposal.
Life is education
By being your child’s parent, you are also their teacher. Don’t just hand over the workbooks and think that the schooling ends when they score the last page of the day, or when you finish marking the last test and record the score on a card.
Remember the days when you would encourage your child to draw a scene, then praise their effort and put it up on the fridge? What about their latest Lego creation, rock collection, or attempt at singing Incy Wincy Spider? Your children were learning, doing "assignments" and being assessed before you discovered the homeschool workbooks. Those days do not have to be over, and nor should they. Learning outside the workbooks still happens, and you as the teacher should encourage and direct it.
By all means, use the content in the workbooks as springboards to enhanced learning. Keep a "weather eye" on the topics being covered in Social Studies, English, and even Maths, and think of ways you can set a simple project based on what is being learned.
Here are some examples:
Draw a timeline of historical events; Draw a map of lands, build a three dimensional model of a valley, produce a slideshow of a culture.
Write a book report, write a story, act out a story and video it, present a biography of an author, make a poster based on a story.
Make three dimensional models or nets of solid shapes, finds pictures of modern or ancient architecture using shapes, make a poster of famous mathematicians, collect statistical data and present graphs.
Science kits and microscopes are obvious examples, but even simple activities can spark inquiry. Sketch the shape of the moon every few days and nights, over a month. Measure shadows over a day and graph the results. Perhaps compare these shadows a few months apart to introduce seasons. Collect, sketch and compare leaves from different plants. As soon as your child starts to ask "Why?" or "What if?" you can introduce scientific investigation.*
Art, music, design and technology
Even if your child is not using workbooks in these subjects, there are plenty of project ideas - Compare genres, criticize specific artists' works, visit a concert or gallery and present reflections on what was heard or seen. Technology is all about creating something: Make a paddle-pop stick bridge, design an ideal house, design a space station.
HPE (Health and Physical Education)
Make posters on nutrition, fitness, CPR, pool safety, treating snake bites, surviving the wilderness, Anti-Bullying (from a Biblical perspective, for example).
* Our Science Projects introduce scientific investigation for different grades, and suggest ideas based on the levels of Science PACEs studied.
Programming note: When preparing reports or programs for your homeschool registration, these kinds of activities are invaluable. They demonstrate that you are not restricting your child’s work to a set of books, and are engaging with their education. For more information, see our Programming Ideas booklet.
If you have been inspired, and have designed a suitable project, we'd love to hear about it and perhaps present it in our newsletters to inspire others.