"From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised." Psalm 113:3

Friday, September 20, 2013

"Schooling" in Disguise...

We are approximately seven weeks into our new school year now, and for a few of my kiddos (who shall remain nameless), the shine has definitely worn off!  Most days, many of us would be perfectly content to Instagram, American Girl, and Lego our days away.

But, alas, schooling must be done, and this check-off-the-box Momma is in her happy place when the box-checking continues, so...I might as well admit it now--I try to sneak school past my kids.

For a certain few, OK--one--of my children, this is way more difficult than for others, it's true.  (Although I think that specific child has been suspicious of just about everything I do since she caught me putting spinach in the strawberry smoothies!)  But even that kiddo can be "creatively convinced"...

Here's what we do in our home:

1.  Fun Fridays--(otherwise known as--yes--bribery).  Each Friday, providing the kiddos have done a good job of completing their work to that point, we declare a "Fun Friday".  On those days, we do our math by playing games (fun games from the Dollar Store, or even Yahtzee).  After our math time, each of the littles gets to spend time with me with a Unit Study of their choice.  Then, we explore!

We read, watch videos, do experiments, make lapbooks--whatever.  Currently, Bug and I are starting geckos (we just finished volcanoes).  Firefly is finishing up a four-week study on cats.  We end our "learning" before lunch, and start our weekend.

Fun Friday = Learning

2.  Re-define "School"--A few years ago, we spent many hours every week driving back and forth to some sort of doctor or therapy appointment (not to mention the hours in the waiting rooms!)  While I could pack up book work for the kids not being seen, it really cut into the schooling for the child getting the therapy.

Until I realized that all of the therapy--it WAS the schooling.


Yes, it may have been a "wasted" year as far as multiplication facts or American History went.  But the strides in self-regulation, emotional control, and understanding of my child and ways to help her were invaluable.

The way I see it, it would have been a wasted year anyway.  I had been trying to teach a child things she wasn't capable of learning, in a way that made it even harder for her to learn.

Therapy = Learning

3.  "Unschool" Opportunities--I am not particularly a social person.  As a matter of fact, I would be one happy Momma to stay home and follow our neat little curriculum plan every day.  But, of course, in His wonderful sense of humor, God gave me a couple of little extroverts to raise and keep happy.

So I've had to learn how to balance our stay-at-home days with my we-have-to-get-out-of-here-NOW kiddos.  And I balance much more happily when I can still count our outings as "school".

For example, as I write this, Bug is participating in his first Lego WizKids Club.  Ninety minutes twice a month to play with other boys and a massive Lego collection!  Six-year-old boy Heaven here!  And so far, at Lego Club, he's introduced himself (public speaking skills), listened to a lesson on Kirk Christiansen, inventor of Legos, and Thomas Edison (history), discussed one of Edison's famous quotes (vocabulary), and copied said quote into his new Lego notebook (copywork!!)  And we're only thirty minutes in!

Some other opportunities we participate in regularly are:  American Girl Book Club, Art Class, Science Club, Boys Book Club, Bible Study groups, and a weekly co-op.  That doesn't even include the oh-so-wonderful learning opportunity:  the Field Trip!

"Unschooling" = Learning

That's just a few ways that I try to "sneak" learning past my crew.  What are some of your favorite ways to "sneaky school"?

Check out how some of my bloggy friends have found to fit schoolwork into their busy lives!  (This blog cruise will be live Tuesday morning, September 24th).


  1. Bribery...I love it. I find that changing things up helps us keep our motivation too!

    1. I think, really, we just need to come up with a clever name for bribery, and then we won't feel guilty for doing it. How about "creative conniving", or "motivating by money", lol!

  2. Oh bribery can be such a good thing. ;)

  3. Truly "school" is so much more than book learning and endless worksheets! My type-A self has had to learn that along the way. :) I think the best learning happens when my kids are inspired to do something creative completely on their own. However, like you said, school must get done. And that includes the things my kids don't like to do, and goodness, I don't even like to do all of it!!

    1. It's amazing how much we learn alongside our children, isn't it? And I know that this homeschooling thing has been a fun way for God to teach me about humility!

  4. Is there info on where Lego WizKids Club are located? Or is that a co-op thing? Thanks!!

    1. It is a co-op where we are using it. I have a request in to the lady who is running ours, and I'll let you know where she's finding her syllabus stuff.

  5. I think "redefine school" is the key! :) Almost anything can be a valuable learning opportunity, especially if we do not force the learning and allow our kids to take from it what makes sense to them and process it naturally.

  6. There is opportunity for learning around every corner. Thank you for sharing a glimpse into schooling redefined! In our early years of homeschooling, I was rather offended when my sweet children would look with blank stares when asked "What did you do in school today?" since we do not use much in the way of traditional text books, they would tell people they hadn't 'done school' that day. We've all since embraced the fact that education happens all the time, all around us.

    1. I'm getting there! It's definitely a process--I'm way too Type A, but I'm loosening up a bit!



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