When I tell people that we homeschool, one of the first things they ask me is, “So, when do you do the ‘lesson?”
What they mean is, “When do you sit down at the table and make them read and write?“
The way we do home education in our family, there is no ‘lesson‘. Learning is incidental. We learn everywhere we go. At the grocery store, while we’re baking brownies, while we’re driving in the car (so many good conversations in the car!) walking to the park, sitting on a comfy couch while I read them library books and yes, occasionally sitting down at the table doing some written stuff (although that’s the rarest activity we do!).
Here’s how one conversation went in our house or you could say, this is how one ‘lesson‘ went, since lots of people want to know.
Margo (7) looks at her undies that have a big four leaf clover on the front: “What’s the day after my birthday called again?”
Me: “Saint Patrick’s Day”
Margo: “And, what’s the day before my birthday?”
Me: “The Ides of March.”
Margo: “What’s the Ides of March?”
Me: “It’s the day Julius Caesar died. The ides means the middle of the month, so the 15th”
Margo: “Who was Julius Ceasar?”
Me: “He was the emperor of Rome.”
Margo: “What’s Rome?”
Me: “Well… Rome is a city in Italy today. But, once upon a time, the people of Rome conquered a huge part of Europe and that called that whole space The Roman Empire. They had a very complex society. Should we watch a Youtube video on it?”
Margo: “So, I wasn’t born on a special day, I was born between two special days. Goldie (her younger sister) was born on a special day! She was born on Krishna’s birthday!”
Goldie (age 5): “Oh, so me and Krishna are the same age?”
Me: “Krishna was born about 5,000 years ago, and you’re only 5!!!” We all laugh!
Margo: “When did that emperor guy live?”
Me: “About 2000 years ago.”
Margo: “So, is he as old as Jesus?”
Me: “Well, sort of, they lived around the same time.”
Like that… It’s nothing special and it’s fun! And it’s so easy, just not what people think of as real ‘learning’ because it doesn’t look like classroom learning. And, I didn’t go and ruin the experience with quizzes on what they learned, checking for comprehension. It’s quite easy to see when a kid gets it or not. And, if they didn’t get parts of it, it will all tie in later. This conversation could happen in any family at any time. The only thing we do different is record it and at the end of the year, present it to the department of education person as ‘proof of learning‘! Life is the lesson!