On the Road Learning

We are always learning, and not only in books. There is much to learn out in the world as well, and some families are great at this. I am generally a home body. I much prefer to be home than out, and a couple of my kids do as well. So what should I do?

What if you can’t go to all sorts of places for the kids to learn in the real world? You make the best of it and do what you can do. We don’t go out all the time, but we do make what we do count. And our time out counts as learning because, well, it is 🙂

We grocery shop. Okay, I drive to the store, push the cart, read the list, and the kids shop. It makes the trip to Walmart with 4 kids much easier, and they are learning how to look for good deals and proper nutrition in the food.  (Health and Math)

We go to the pet store. The zoo is too far away for my liking, so the pet store is the next choice. We have a few cats, two fish, and two gerbils at home. We don’t plan to get anything else  (ever, if I can help it), but we like to go look at all of the animals and read about them. Sometimes we even talk to the shop workers to get to know something new. (Science)

We go to the library.  A Lot. I’m sure I have said plenty about that already. (Pretty much every subject area)

We go for walks and bike rides on our street. We find interesting bugs, flowers, plants, etc in the yard and study them. (P.E., Science)

We have soccer games in the yard. (P.E.)

We go to dance classes. (P.E. and Performance Arts)

I am looking very forward to the opening of the new Children’s Museum in town. I know that we will find lots to do and learn there too.

The biggest benefit I see to going out is this:  We have some great talks when there are not video games or ripsticks calling to them.  Many of our growing up talks happen while we drive. Sometimes they even let me teach while on the road. Recently, my son asked why there was a yellow line on the road on only one side. I got to teach him what I knew. Yesterday I started asking him to spell words just for fun.  After five or so words he caught on and asked if I was trying to sneak some learning in. Well, yes, I was, but he was having fun and agreed to continue. When I told him how impressed I was with how much better his spelling has gotten, he replied with, “I see so many fancy words in my books that I have learned how to spell them easily!” No spelling book, no worries.  

What do you do around town that counts for learning time?


Real Learning

It is easy to get really stuck in the traditional way of learning, but really I have been thinking that I love to spend time in the garden discovering all sorts of things about my plants and how they grow and by the ditch filled with snails, fish, algae, etc. But I would not be the least bit interested in learning about these from a book. Why should I force my kids to learn everything only from books? Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE books. Great books are a huge part of our curriculum. But we sometimes get so wrapped up trying to complete assignments in them, that we miss the joy of learning in real settings. I have learned alongside my kids this year lots about Botany and Marine Biology, but the only books we have read on the topics have been opened because we had a question born from the experience of observing them first hand. May more of our learning experiences follow this idea every day!