Why I'll Never Be One of Those Homeschoolers (and How That's Okay)
by Amy on August 3rd, 2015

​​I woke up this morning to a loud buzzing sound in my room. It wasn't my alarm clock. Instead, a dragonfly longer than my finger had somehow gotten caught inside the window and was trying to break out through the glass.

Before I even considered googling the species, taking a photo, or calling the kids in to share my discovery, my entire focus was to GET THIS GIANT BUG OUT OF MY HOUSE!

I've always wanted to be one of those moms who makes the best of any educational opportunity presenting itself. I imagine my kids poised for success when they are continually curious about the world around them, so I try to facilitate that whenever I can. 
Honestly, though, sometimes I just want the bugs out of the house. 

Just because I happen upon a teachable moment, doesn't mean I'm required to grab hold and wring all the learning value I can out of it. As a homeschooler, it can feel like a tragedy when I let something slip past without exploring its full educational potential.

And yet, there is so much to learn. The libraries, the internet, and even our back yard are bursting at their virtual seams with new ideas to encounter, discover, and digest. If I truly attempted to encourage my kids to learn from each and every one of those moments, it would completely overwhelm them. Rather than expanding their horizons and preparing them more fully for a rich life, it would overwhelm and paralyze them.

I remember a particular comic from Gary Larson's The Far Side. A student in algebra class raises his hand and asks, "Mr. Osborne, may I be excused? My brain is full." Our kids are already poised to learn. That's how their brains are wired. Most experiences are new and different for them, and they're working all the time to sort out what happens and why. And sometimes, they need a break.

Some days at the beach need to be just days at the beach--not lectures on animal habitats or comparisons of various shell and seaweed samples. As important as it is for kids to learn as they play, it's just as important to play as they learn. That's important for me, too. If I am continually focused on trying to educate my children about the world, we'll all miss out on the opportunity to experience life in the world. And that would really be tragic.

​Photo © Chuck Evans, used with permission.


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