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Imagine a Homeschooling Day: Part 2 of 2

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Imagine a Homeschooling Day

Part 2 of 2

By Linda Dobson

homeschoolingPicking up from yesterday: “Since you are out and about, you decide to stop at the grocery store.”

You check your wallet and tell your son you have $20 to spend. He pulls out paper and pencil, and the two of you brainstorm the best way to spend the money based on your collective memories of where your cupboards are most bare. Your son’s entries of ice cream, Fritos, cupcakes, and Snickers disappear one by one as he estimates the milk, eggs, yogurt, bread, potatoes, and bananas will do in that $20 bill.

Homeschooling Happens In the Grocery Store

After careful inspection, he chooses the healthiest-looking bananas, then leads you through the store aisles, checking unit prices of the various brands of the remaining items on your list. A quick estimation of money spent reveals you can pick up one of the treats previously crossed off. He decides ice cream will please the most family members at the lowest cost, and figures that the brand on sale saves the family eighty-five cents. (Doesn’t he look proud?)

As he’s bagging the groceries, he notices a frail, elderly woman in trouble as she tries to weave an overloaded cart among the empty ones strewn in her path. Your son clears out the maze and offers to take the groceries to the woman’s car. She gratefully accepts his offer, and he returns just in time to help you, too.

By the time you arrive back home, your oldest child has repaired the lawn mower (and changed the spark plug and oil) and his letter is ready to go. He grabs the rest of the family’s mail, and delivers it all to the post office on his bike. On the return trip, the neighbor pays him for this week’s puppy care. Another neighbor, a former Boy Scout who likes sharing his fifty year-old memories and mementos on occasion, waves and inquires about your son’s last Scout camping trip and his teaching duties at the Nature Center.

He’s home now, inviting his brother’s help in setting up Experiment #47 from the family’s electronics kit. The youngest leaves his work on a rapidly expanding 18th century Mill Town panorama and joins him. The two work side by side for the rest of the afternoon, promising to clear off the kitchen table before you return from picking up their sister.

Homeschooling Happens While Volunteering

You enter the Humane Society and find out your daughter is back in the examining room. (You can smell this, too, can’t you?!) You look closely at your little girl’s face and see she is focused, concentrating on the task at hand – performing tests for feline leukemia on a litter of kittens who just arrived. You use the extra time to say hello to the facility’s manager and discover your daughter spent part of the afternoon answering questions by phone, and greeting and helping potential pet owners who visited that day. After a quick round of the facilities to say good-bye to everyone (pets and people), her “job” ends for the day.

See also Yes, You Can Afford Homeschooling

The shelter is crowded, you learn, and several “favorite” dogs and cats were put to sleep since her last work day. You acknowledge her sadness, and talk about death – and responsibility. You hear new understanding in her words. You feel her awakening. (She is growing beautifully, isn’t she?)

Your sons already set the table and picked some fresh lettuce, carrots, and a couple of too tiny but edible cucumbers from the garden, so your daughter makes a salad while you prepare spaghetti. She hasn’t gotten everything out of her system regarding people’s irresponsibility to animals, so conversation continues until she feels better. Dinner is over.

Homeschooling Happens Until Bedtime

One son goes next door to play basketball with a friend. The others soon finish a lesson in math books and ask you to join in a game of “Where in the World?” You hope you can remember half the countries they do, for it’s been quite a while since you’ve won!

You don’t win the board game. But you realize your whole family is winning the game of life when, after all the good-nights are said and kissed and hugged away, you see your daughter’s light still burning as she works on her fiction story based on a recently discovered, local story of the disappearance of a female college professor in 1933. You know everyone’s winning because whatever your children do tomorrow, they will enjoy. Whatever they enjoy, they will carry away and make a part of themselves.

You fall asleep wondering where Homer’s Odyssey will next take Ulysses, wondering where your own family’s Odyssey will next carry your children.


Let’s take a moment and review the education that permeated our day. We’ll categorize the experiences into a sort of “educationese,” placing activities in the slots, or subject areas, from which they are typically viewed by institutionalized eyes.


Probability and statistics

Money Management

– Estimation

– Comparison shopping (price per unit)

Textbook lessons (pre-algebra, decimals/fractions/percentages)


History – U.S. Navy & David Farragut

History of Clothing

Creation of 18th Century Mill Town

Where in the World? – familiarity with location of world’s countries

Local history – 1933


Classic Literature and fiction reading

Friendly letter writing – punctuation, grammar, spelling, sentence & paragraph structure, effective communication

Business letter writing – same as above

Oral communication via business phone and public contact


Creative writing


Botany (garden)

Dolphins – new research on intelligence and societal make-up

Acid rain

Waste managment


Motor repair and maintenance

Electronics Kit and Components – Experiment #47

Leukemia testing




Care and responsibility for pets

Care of environment

Cooking and baking


Bike riding


Aerobic exercise at Humane Society


American Sign Language


Respect for elders

Death related to pet over-population

Classical music

Art and hands-on experience an integral portion of most activities

One day’s activity! Accomplished in the warm, loving, safe environment of homeschooling! No bells, no tests, no peer pressure, no competition! Individual attention, individual progress, individual choice! The art of education – pure, stressless, naturally occurring. Imagine what can be accomplished in the course of a year.

Take a few minutes and picture a similar day, plugging in activities you can imagine fitting your children’s interests and available where you live. Let your imagination fly.

Please don’t think your “homeschooling trip” was merely an excursion to a fantasy land. Your exercise sheds light on some very important truths about education. You see theh role of teacher can be transformed into that of guide, a facilitator who, by virtue of your natural connection to your children, possesses a unique knowledge of the student. Devoting a relatively short period of time, initially, to observation, you can tune in to the ways in which your child learns best, help her pursue interests, honor her strengths, shore up her weaknesses and participate, side by side, in homeschooling, a most interesting learning journey.

You’ll discover every day life tosses you umpteen opportunities for learning, if only your child experiences it guided by a loving adult. You’ll see there is time enough for yourself, as well as time to guide the child you birthed, if only you are willing to take that time away from less important pursuits. You’ll see love and connection more than compensate for formal “training,” if only you rise above your conditioning to the contrary and allow that understanding to blossom into trust of self and child. You’ll realize that as a place “to learn,” to acquire lasting, meaningful, universal life skills, home is a very good, “radically novel idea.”

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one.

I hope some day you’ll join us…

John Lennon (c) 1971


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