"I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world." -Richard Dawkins

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Homeschooling, A Misnomer

Yes, we homeschool, but I'm starting to wonder why on earth they call it that. Sure, we're working on workbooks at the kitchen table, but I'm fairly convinced that my four-year-old daughter is doing most of her learning elsewhere, out there, in the community.

As evidenced by the photo at left, during the summer months she learned that blackberries and raspberries grow on bushes and yes, yes you CAN eat them! Living next to the woods is so cool.

At the laundromat she learns that four quarters equal a dollar, and that half of six is three and that's how many loads worth of detergent you need for the smaller washers, not the larger ones. She also learns that if she throws her bouncy ball just right at the dryer doors, she forms a parabola that launches the ball back over her head- often at me, while I'm trying to fold the clothing.
At the coffee shop she learns that venti is Italian for twenty, because that's how many ounces are in that size cup. She learns about how coffee grows, and what Fair Trade means.

At the library she gets to attend free children's programs, where a really nice lady plays the guitar, leading them in songs, reading them books, and doing crafts with them. She's learned about apples and leaves, gingerbread houses and all the different colors that people come in. She's also learned how to run around in circles around the obelisk out front and not land on her face. Please.

At Target, she learns that one dollar buys one thing from the Dollar Spot. You'd think this was obvious, but it's taken some getting used to for the little one who thinks she needs both the princess markers and the Hello Kitty water bottle. She also learns that if she saves three of her dollars, she can walk to a different part of the store and buy something that costs more than a dollar. A novel idea for her.

Don't worry, I see the inherent downward slope, here. She's not going to learn Advanced Trig from the mailman, or American Politics from the lady at the grocery store (but maybe from C-Span!) There's a point where this method of unschooling stops working. But for now, I'm content to sit back and let her soak it all up. The schooling doesn't have to stay at home. In fact, it never does.

Originally written for Kids Fun Plaza magazine on 1/21/2011. Yes, I own my content.

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