Not that I’m counting, but we’ll just add these to my list.
Homeschooling Benefit #6980: Flexibility to sieze teachable moments
Last week a bird flew into our house, and my daughter caught it (see previous entry for photo). She was enchanted. She was thrilled. And she had questions. What kind of bird is it? What does it eat? How much does it eat? Can we keep it? My answers were I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, and I don’t think so. So we dropped our planned schoolwork for the morning (math and grammar – don’t worry, we got back to them later) and researched birds. I didn’t have to worry about a bell ringing and her leaving for another class. I didn’t have to worry about covering certain topics for a TAKS test. I didn’t have to get permission from the principal to send the class outside to dig for bugs. We just dived into the reference books and started reading and comparing pictures. One question lead to another, and now we all know more about house wrens than ever before. My daughter will never forget that wrens eat caterpillars because she dug some up and watched the bird slurp it down like spaghetti (that was really cool!). She understood that we had to set it free because she wouldn’t be able to keep up with the bird’s appetite. She now also knows how to attract wrens to your house and why that’s such a good idea.
Homeschooling Benefit #6981: Interdisciplinary studies
Of course, we didn’t stop with science. Because I happen to be the art teacher as well as the science teacher…oh, and the English teacher…we quickly incorporated those subjects into our bird study. Jordi will grow up understanding the natural connections between subjects. In real life, there are no arbitrary separations betweens the different ways we perceive our world and communicate about them.
Homeschooling Benefit #6982: Learning by osmosis
Big Brother, who started high school this year, was mostly on the outskirts of the whole “oh look we caught a birdie” event. He did not read bird articles. He did not hunt for bugs in the dirt. He was busy typing a civics essay about the second amendment (he’s decided that he’s pro-gun control, but that’s another story). I didn’t think he’d learned anything about wrens at all. Until he handed me this a few hours later:
Not bad, huh? I think he captured it’s relative tail size and beak shape pretty accurately. Simple observation. He’s a naturalist. Beatrix Potter and Charlotte Mason would both be pleased. I used to think only Baby Brother benefitted by the “learning through osmosis” being in the same room with older kids. I guess it works both ways.
Homeschooling Benefit #6983: Observation and Follow-up
Next week, we learn how to spell Galileo. I happen to be in charge of spelling tests, too.