December 27, 2013

Taking a Break? And the Intamacy of Home Education

I am often asked if we, as homeschoolers, take "time off" for the holidays or for summer etc.  I understand why this is a common curiosity and it's interesting because the question itself is born from the assumption that learning happens within the confines of specified time/location barriers.  Be that as it may however, I get it.  So the answer would be yes - sort of. 

We do deviate from the time we would normally spend on formal lessons etc, but it should be made clear that learning doesn't stop or pause - ever - and that is not intentional, it is simply a fact of existence.

Learning is not just bookwork/lessons, but it does include formal study.  It is, like everything else AND and BOTH.  So while we may not be doing the former, we are still learning.  

Is it okay to take a few whole weeks off in December?  Sure, why not?  By what time table are we measuring our children?  By whose standards?  Who is setting the educational goals for our family? 

All of the above should be dictated by none other than ourselves and our children, together and therefore if it is fitting for us to leave formal lessons alone for a while to celebrate, spend time with others, or just plain goof off, then so be it.  It's not about measuring to the system standards of attendance, forget the system.  Make your own system and follow that.

Although we all know this, many parents still feel anxious about taking too much time "off"; but it's very important to remind ourselves that we can get back to that when the time is right.  Like life, it all ebbs and flows and chances are your children will make it very clear when they are ready to get back to some kind of routine after the high of a holiday or summer break or mid-Spring fever or whatever.  The natural desire to find that again will surface. 

This happens in my family whenever we take "off" for a period of time.  The children miss it after a while, and so do I.  Why? Do they miss "learning?"  No, because the learning is always happening and if we pay attention we can pick out dozens of interesting lessons being learned during any "break".   We miss it because that time that we spend together doing formal studies is intimate family time and comes to be regarded as special, appreciated and treasured.  And THAT is what it is supposed to be my friends.  So let it be that... break, don't break... whatever.  Follow the natural flow and curve.  Your family has a rhythm... step back to find it, then play along with that rhythm.

Learning is formal and informal.  It happens always.  The important realization here is that the time that is spent on formal book-work and studies is more than just "lessons", it is family time, intellectually intimacy and sharing of ideas and discussion which is not only learning, but profoundly important in so many ways.  THAT is what living without school is about.  THAT is the Curve.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Discussion Welcomed. SPAMMERS will be blocked!