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Imagine a Homeschooling Day

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Imagine a Homeschooling Day

Part 1 of 2

By Linda Dobson

Would that this institution – or some institution – could become the University of Utopia. What will it be like? It will be the most enlightened institution of higher learning in the world today…Its only purpose is to educate. What a radically novel idea for an institution of higher learning!”

~ Chas. McCurdy, Jr., Executive Secretary State Universities Association, June 1, 1957 at Gustavus     Adolphus College

homeschoolingYour home with homeschooling is a most ideal place to realize Charles McCurdy’s vision of a University of Utopia whose “only purpose is to educate.” After all, life, glistening with glorious ups and downs, highs and lows, sadness and pure joy, is a natural learning ground where universal life skills can be demonstrated, experimented with and attained.

This “radically novel idea” unfolds, in varying degrees, in homes across the country. Homeschooling families step along the path at their own pace, experimenting with freedom in a thousand different ways, fully aware that learning is a never-ending journey that has little to do with institutions and everything to do with life. To help you get a handle on how different life can be with homeschooling, let’s imagine a homeschooling day together.

A Homeschooling Day Begins

As day’s first light creeps in the window, your early bird child grabs a book and finishes the last two chapters. By this time you’re ready to greet the day, and you and early bird get breakfast on the table. He squeezes some fresh grapefruit juice, carefully saving the seeds to add to a growing, cataloged collection. The last child wakes up and joins you just as the school bus rumbles past the house.

The day’s plan unfolds as all share what they would like to do. Since you are all taking the classes together with your homeschooling support group, you practice your sign language as you communicate. (The kids graciously remind you there’s a sign for “reading” so you don’t have to spell it out with your fingers!) One child runs to get the sign language book to look up “videotape,” and shows everyone the tricky sign for “correspondence” he discovers as he flips through the pages. You sign, “Catching up on correspondence today is a very good idea – I will.” Your youngest signs, “Me, too!” After feeding pets, clearing the table and doing the dishes, everyone dresses and pitches in with the chores as the London Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C Minor permeates the house from the living room – sit down – record player. You straighten out the ever-growing collection of video tapes and find the “Nova” recording your daughter asked about at breakfast. One child starts the laundry, another sweeps and mops the kitchen floor, and (if you have a third!) he cleans the cat litter and walks the dog up to the garden where he checks how much longer it might be until his favorite radishes grace the salad bowl again. Any day now, he figures, as he pulls a few weeds before returning to the house.

He enters and finds everyone gathered in the living room waiting to read the next chapter of Homer’s Odyssey. Yesterday you left Ulysses with Athene, finally washed ashore Ithaca after a twenty-year absence, and nobody can wait to find out how he’ll rescue his sweet Penelope from the scoundrel suitors who invade his home and threaten his son, Telemachus.

You leave Ulysses perched on the edge of battle until tomorrow, then your daughter settles down to learn more about dolphins from “Nova.” Your oldest child jogs down the street to walk and feed a new puppy for neighbors away at work. Before he comes back inside, he checks the acidity of last night’s rain water and records test results and amount of rainfall in the records he’s kept for a year now.

See also Yes, You Can Turn to Homeschooling Temporarily

A younger child asks for help as he sets up his favorite game from the Family Math book. You play a while, realizing that the game has taught him probability and statistics well. He’ll soon move on to Cartesian graphs, and you make a mental note to dig out the graph paper you know you have – somewhere!

When the game is over, you grab paper, envelopes, stamps, and pen, and tackle that correspondence you promised yourself you would. Your child joins in, writing to his pen pal across the country, carefully numbering the answers to the trivia questions the pen pal last sent him. Your joint desk, the kitchen table, is soon covered with encyclopedias and other reference books as he searches for new questions to send his friend to answer. (“No, son,” you say, “I don’t know who David G. Farragut is. Tell me about him.” You stop writing as you learn all about the first U.S. Navy Admiral who commanded his own ship at the age of twelve.) “Nova” is over, so your daughter begins double-checking her brother’s trivia answers, but gets lost in a reference book’s section on fashion design.

Homeschooling Into the Afternoon

Hungry bellies tell everyone it’s time for lunch. Talk about David Farragut and 19th century hemlines shifts to tuna fish salad and your budding biographer turns into the “world’s best tuna sandwich maker.” The other kids heat last night’s leftover turkey soup as they whip up half a batch of their favorite biscuits. (You can smell them; they’re almost done.) You listen to news on the radio as each eats his fill, turning the radio off when a story about local landfills leads to a discussion of the politics of environmental management. Your oldest child decides to write a letter to the editor of the local paper urging residents to consider the pros and cons of a new waste station carefully.

With lunch over, he starts his letter. The “world’s best tuna sandwich maker” wants to stop at the library when you take his sister to her volunteer work at the Humane Society. He returns last week’s stack of books before heading to the card catalog in search of books on volcanoes. (“Yes, I guess we will need a bag for all these books, thank you!”) Since you are out and about, you decide to stop at the grocery store.

Please stay tuned for Part 2 of Imagine a Homeschooling Day to finish out your day!


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2 Responses to “Imagine a Homeschooling Day”

  1. Fatcat says:

    Oh yes, this is exactly what it is like. 😛

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