Many of us chose to homeschool our children because of the freedom it provides. And we all recognize books and computer programs as commonplace methods of homeschooling. But is the classroom limited to home? I say, no. Think about all the other places and ways learning can occur.
Field Trips — Whether formally organized by your homeschool support group or informally taken with friends, field trips allow you to explore and learn at the same time. Going to a museum? Review what’s on exhibit on the museum web site and create a scavenger hunt for your kids. Going to a nature center? Have your kids take pictures of (or draw) and label what they see.
Library — Trips to the library definitely count as “school.” If your children were in a traditional school, you can be sure time spent in the “media center” (fancy name for “library”) would count!
Road Trips — Lots of car games are educational — from spotting objects whose name begins (or ends) with a particular letter of the alphabet to playing 20 Questions, many games that can be played in the car are fun and educational. USS Parenting provides a list of car games that you may not have thought of. Older kids can map trip routes, calculate gas mileage, check tire pressure and fluid levels, and otherwise help with trip management.
Grocery Shopping — Yes, you read that correctly. From keeping a running total of money spent to reviewing nutrition labels, a trip to the grocery store can be more than a weekly chore.
Vacations — Many of the tips mentioned in “Field Trips” and “Road trips” apply here. When we traveled, we tended to go to places steeped in history — St. Augustine, FL and Savannah, GA were favorites, as were Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown. These trips provided good opportunities for learning about history and culture. Our kids kept a trip diary that they wrote in at the end of each day before we went to dinner. Not only did this give mom and dad some needed grown-up time, but it allowed the children to write about the day’s events while they were still fresh. Keeping brochures from any sites we visited helped the process. Even when we went on shorter, less adventurous vacations (think Disney or the beach), there was always something to log, whether the nations at Epcot or the unusual shell found on Sanibel beach.
The Back (or Front) Yard — Plant a garden… or start a weather center. Prefer to be outsite at night? Become a star-gazer. The possibilities are limitless. Again, documenting the activity enriches the experience.
Play Ball, Or Whatever Sport You Like — In school, this is called PE and it counts. Whether you join a homeschool sports group, sign up for sports through your town or city, or just play with neighborhood friends, getting active is both healthy and educational. Florida homeschoolers enjoy good weather 365 days of the year – take advantage of it!
What are some places you have found the classroom to be? Please share them!