Does cooking count as home economics? Does the library count for school hours? Does riding a bike count as P.E.? These are such common questions in homeschooling, especially with new moms. But unless you live in a state with strict requirements, I want to encourage you to let go of that “checking boxes” mindset.
If you’ve worried about these things, you’re not alone. American culture has taught us that we learn “subjects” in schools, and that every bit of childhood fits into some kind of category. But if you’re homeschooling, you can stop worrying about “subjects.” Start looking at childhood as just that: childhood.
Cooking, shopping, climbing trees, woodwork, sewing, reading, hiking…all of these things make for a well-rounded child. They are all important, and fun, but I don’t believe they should all be forced into some sort of school chart to be valuable.
They are valuable already.
Our aim in education is to give full life. We owe it to them to initiate an immense number of interests. Life should be all living, and not merely a tedious passing of time not all doing or all feeling or all thinking – the strain would be too great – but, all living; that is to say, we should be in touch wherever we go, whatever we hear, whatever we see, with some manner of vital interest. (Charlotte Mason)
It’s hard, as homeschooling parents, to not be in teacher mode all the time. We want everything to “count,” and we often feel a little pride in imagining the long list of accomplishments our children are acquiring. (I know this is especially true when close friends and family members are critical of homeschooling.)
But we can easily get caught up in “counting” and lose sight of the relationship, the pleasure, and the passing of childhood.
Don’t worry if your school day isn’t 7 hours long. Don’t worry if everything you do with your children isn’t “school work.”
Do not let the endless succession of small things crowd great ideas out of sight and out of mind. (Charlotte Mason)
Next time you go grocery shopping, by all means teach your children a little something about the process. Next time you go to the park, encourage the kids to have fun and explore. And if you live in a state that requires all sorts of reporting, then include it in your school records. But otherwise, just be a mom.
Enjoy the time together. Think of the future adult you are shaping, not the high school graduate.