Don't Homeschool at Home Only
You know what’s cool about homeschool? (Eating breakfast at 10 a.m. Not packing lunches. Reading a funny novel out loud together with your kids. Watching your daughter develop good writing habits. Wearing your pajamas to math class. Allowing your fourth grader to have the opportunity to give art lessons to his younger siblings.) Wait. That wasn’t where this post was supposed to go. I’m going to start again. You know what’s great about homeschool? You don’t have to always do school at home! The staff here at Wildwood loves irony like that. Sure, we are home probably more than we are not. But it’s fun to take school on the road from time to time. I’m not just talking about the Big Trips – Little House on the Prairie whilst literally sleeping on the prairie or maple syrup studies while sleeping in a cabin beside the sugar shack. Those are amazing – and generally rare – opportunities. I’m talking more about your run of the mill Take This Show on the Road kind of days. I love to surprise the kids by saying, “Go grab your shoes and meet me in the car.” We’ll hop over to a local coffee shop or a park or a nature trail or a bakery. I’ll treat all of the kids (and myself, of course) to a smoothie or a cookie and we’ll make our way to a table. Even the less-than-pleasant parts of school are a bit more palatable when the environment and the cuisine help the work go by. You can take whatever school works for you to the restaurant or the trail, but here are a few activities that are easy to take on the road — Letter Writing. It’s a great opportunity to encourage your children to embrace the tragically lost art of actual hand written letters. It improves their penmanship, helps them to organize information in a succinct and interesting manner and all ages can participate. Younger children can draw pictures and copy words and dictate their letters to you or their older siblings. Novel Reading. Even a child cannot help but be drawn into the luxury of enjoying a delicious beverage and relaxing into a cozy environment simultaneously while reading a good book. Even a book as taxing as Kon-Tiki can be almost bearable with a hot chocolate in hand and a softly cushioned chair. Written Narrations. Say this isn’t your child’s favorite bit of school work. A public location, a brownie and an extra touch of fun can help this dreaded assignment become less of a chore and more of a pleasure. Art. Homework. Notebook work. Copywork. Journal writing. Math worksheets. Science notebooking. Really – you name it. If it’s basically quiet work – it can go. We’ve talked about novels and completed many an oral narration. I’ve read books out loud to the kids while they draw or color. I love it. They love it. It doesn’t require much planning and it can be as spontaneous as you like. You can get all of your “hard” work done in the morning and slip away for a mid-afternoon tea time. You could get an early start and have breakfast instead and perhaps get more accomplished in an hour or two at the coffee shop than you would ever get accomplished before nine a.m. at your own home. (In a way, the distractions at a local favorite are far less than the distractions of your home.) It’s a special perk of being the teacher and the field trip coordinator and the transportation liaison and the cafeteria lady and the administrator. And – of course – you don’t have to homeschool to take advantage of this idea. Wouldn’t after school homework be that much lovelier if it happened at your local bakery or your favorite coffee spot? Even just once a week, wouldn’t it be fun to surprise the kids with a stop on the drive home from school? You could stay an hour, complete all the homework in your house and head home free as a bird. Where are your favorite unusual spots to do school?