This is part three - homeschool schedules - of Paula Cleary's article about homeschool education and looking at education myths.
I took the children shoe shopping recently. On a Tuesday. In school hours. The conversation went like this:
Shop assistant; to the children: "Oooh, no school today, huh? Why aren't you at school then."
Children: "Because we are home educated"
Shop assistant: " Oh, I see. So your mother, has brought, you......pause!.......shopping"
The word "shopping" was said with real spite. It was loaded with an accusation. Shopping? On a school day? When you should be sitting at home at your desk, ploughing through some work book or another? What kind of education is this if you are out on a Tuesday lunchtime, just idly ........SHOPPING!!!!!
I took one look at this lady, full of her educational notions and debated whether to have a discussion about this and decided not to. The children needed shoes and that was the most practical time to do it.
I didn't tell her about the fact that after the shoe shop we were off to the Green Quay waterfront to walk round their educational rooms, or the very interesting morning we had had just looking at and comparing different buildings in King's Lynn (of which there are many). Or the fact that we often do this sort of thing with pleasure, and often spend our weekends going to museums, exhibitions, galleries, etc.. etc... ALL YEAR ROUND.
The idea of learning all the time, without boundaries or restrictions of the school-timetable kind is lost on some people. Learning is an unpleasant business to be sweated and slaved over and done with, then you can earn the right the have fun! Who said the two are not compatible? There is no on/off time for us, because learning can occur at any time of the day, week, month or year.
Sometimes the best maths we have done all day is playing Junior Monopoly when they are in their pyjamas. Or the most enlightening and interesting conversation is in the van on the way to the dentist. Why shouldn't that count too? What is less educational about an informal debate or discussion about something, than simply looking up the answers in a book and ending it there?