Two summers ago my husband woke me up way too early for a Saturday morning.
“MEG! MEG! A humpback whale died and parts of its body are washing ashore! We have to go see it!”
And see it, we did. We woke the kids up, packed a picnic lunch, and headed to the beach. Sure enough, an hour after our arrival, pieces of deceased whale made their way to shore near us. The kids were quick to notice the shark bites in the carcass and the blue jellyfish that were catching a ride on it. One of our boys was brave enough to touch the carcass. This impromptu beach trip took on a whole new life when we started talking about the life cycle and decomposition, from the massive sharks all the way down to the tiniest of parasites.
Homeschooling on the fly means learning as you go!
The whale wasn’t the only interesting (and smelly) thing we saw that day. We also watched as my husband rescued a raccoon from a trash dumpster, and we spent an hour looking at an old car bumper that had also washed ashore, carefully examining all of the life forms that made the bumper their home. Having the flexibility to drop what we’re doing and see something new and amazing is a huge benefit of homeschooling! Last minute field trips, nature walks on an unexpectedly beautiful day, driving to the beach to explore a whale carcass, dropping your plans to tend to a sick child; all of these things are luxuries that most families don’t have, they are luxuries provided by homeschooling.
In my many years of homeschooling I’ve often heard parents ask how they can teach everything they need to in just one year. What often happens is that new homeschooling parents get stuck in the school mindset that school happens only 180 days a year, between the hours of 8am and 3pm. I always reply back with a “Relax! You have 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, to teach them. Go with the flow!” Yes, math and reading and science are important, but there is no rule that says you have to sit down at the table every day to learn.
When you leave the traditional school system, your world opens up; you now have the opportunity to really LIVE in the world, to really SEE it! You don’t have to go far, just open your door and start walking. A whole new world is waiting for you, go see it!
Meg Grooms is a long-time homeschooling mother of 6 children, ranging in age from preschool to married with kids of their own. Always a vagabond at heart, Meg and her family have embraced a slow travel lifestyle and currently call Southern California home. Your guess is as good as hers as to where they’ll end up next.
Meg blogs about secular homeschooling and gameschooling at Homeschool Gameschool.