Where all my little loves come together for one big, beautiful life.

“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!

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2 thoughts on ““Hey Google, what is school?””

  • Hi Katie, I loved this post and I could relate wholeheartedly to your experience. Especially your own unlearning and the kids unschooled. Although my kids do attend public school, I have wrestled with my role as teacher at home simply because I too was a school teacher and fully institutionalised myself. I was very much surprised when my first son resisted all my automatic attempts to “school ” him. He wouldn’t let me read to him in the way I expected, he wouldn’t even let me teach him to dive in the pool. He wouldn’t accept throwing tips or cup cake making instruction. But he would listen when I aided him in the moment, when he had decided to learn something, and wanted help to move forward, or get down, or spell something, or name something. So we readjusted, the two of us. He lead and I followed, to give whatever help I could on his journey. I am so thrilled that he was my first child. It has taken the pressure off me ever ‘teaching’ my 5 kids anything. We discover, we discuss, we unpack but I am never the focus. The learning is, and I love that! Isn’t it fun! I get to be Mum and love them. It’s wonderful, and in years like this when school is not so crash hot due to a dud teacher, my first son has not lost his love of learning, he’s just found learning elsewhere and practices his character at school instead, we’ve all benefited. What a wonderful privilege we have to live this learning with our kids. Thank you for your blog post so beautifully said and so thought provoking. God bless your homeschool journey and your family. Lots of love L.

    • Lauren, thank you so much for your comment and encouragement! I loved reading your perspective and journey with your son. I LOVE how he still loved learning even without the best teacher, I think that’s a testament to a great mom! I’m definitely still learning to follow more than lead in our schooling and facilitate learning rather than instruct, but that’s the beauty of the journey, right? Thanks so much for sharing! God bless! ❤️

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