“Hey Google, what is school?”
Yesterday, my husband asked Ella, my 8 year old what school was. Being the quick-witted girl she is, she immediately asked our Google Home device what the definition of school is. Google’s definition is this- any institution at which instruction is given in a particular discipline /noun/.
I started to think about how I would define “school” and what that has meant to our family and our homeschool journey. Our homeschooling journey has changed so much from when we first began a few years ago. When we first started homeschooling, I tried so hard to make our school look like a public school setting. You see, I was not homeschooled and for 8 years following my public education, I ran a local Early Childhood Education center that also functioned as a preschool with a structured school schedule and classroom set-up. I was so accustomed to the typical “school” setting, that I thought that was the way our home school needed to look too. School was to us- a home institution for educating Ella Monday – Friday from 9am-2pm. /noun/
After our first few months, I quickly realized that we needed a change. Ella had attended the ECC I ran and then went to a charter school for 4 months of kindergarten before I quit my job and we started homeschool. Trying to mimic her preschool and kindergarten setting was not working. We both were beyond frustrated with each other. She didn’t respect me as her teacher, and I was having a hard time separating my role as teacher and mom. We began some “un-schooling” and changed our definition of school. School became to us, a home institution where we sometimes worked in our pajamas on the couch and included more hands on learning through play Monday-Friday. /noun/
Fast forward a few years and our school has evolved even further. You see, I don’t see school as an institution any longer. We do school at the grocery store, we do school while hiking in the woods, we do school on our 5 hour drive to visit family, and we still do a lot of our school at home too! Our definition of school has changed so much that I don’t even consider it a /noun/ any longer. Our new definition of school is this- the act of learning and accomplishing our educational goals. /verb/
School is so much more than studying multiplication and learning parts of speech (although we are learning all of these things as well and you will see us working in our workbooks and on laptops each day!). Ella and now Lincoln (although he doesn’t do much formal school due to his young age) are also learning how to use a map to navigate trails or find our way up to MI from IN, they’re learning nutrition, science, and how to cook a healthy meal, they’re learning math when we buy groceries, they’re learning so many life skills and developing amazing family relationships in our time together each day and they learn so much more that I don’t even pick-up on through our daily activities.
I challenge you to take a moment to consider what you want “school” to be for your family. Even if you send your child to school each day, take a minute an think through what you hope school means for them. Don’t limit learning to a formal classroom setting and you’ll be surprised at how your little loves can learn and grow! Let me know in the comments below how you would define school and we can all learn from each other!