There are days - many days - that I question whether or not I am doing enough with my five year old. She's the third of four, and, though I try really hard to avoid this, I find myself gearing my time toward teaching my oldest two. They are, after all, the ones "in school", right? Not really, but that's how many of my days end up. So on days when Little Sister really shows out, I am completely thrilled.
On this particular day, I was doing school with the older two, and had sent her to play. She came to me and asked if she could have the markers to write on my white board. My husband mounted it low enough where she and Baby Girl could reach it and draw on it. (I'm still waiting on the day when the marker "accidentally" gets all over my wall!) I handed her the markers, told her to keep it on the white board, and left her to herself while I went back to the "real school" with the others. When we finished what we were working on, I turned around to see how she was doing (and to make sure I didn't have marker all over my wall!), and this is what she showed me.
She put all the markers together to make a pointer stick, so she could teach me what she had drawn. She said, "The red is all the blood in my body, and these black things are viruses that make you sick."
Wow! I was impressed! I have to tell you at this point, I have no idea where she learned that. No clue! I know I didn't teach it to her. But she had certainly learned enough about the human body to know those things, to be able to draw them, and then to be able to teach me what she knew. So where did she learn that? Hmmm...
One thing I have always made certain to do in our homeschooling is to be sure my kids are watching QUALITY television. My kids don't watch useless cartoons that have no point or meaning. Most of their video games and computer games revolve around some form of teaching. So where did she learn about the human body? My guess is that she learned it from PBS Kids. Our TV pretty much stays on PBS, and it is amazing the amount of learning they get from that quality programing. And when she wants to get on the computer to play games, she goes to PBS Kids to play and learn.
After she "taught" me what she knew, I decided it was time for some fun with Mrs. Frizzle! I LOVE The Magic Schoolbus! LOVE IT! So we went to the library and checked out the DVD that had all three human body episodes on it. She came home and watched them, and she learned about the heart and circulatory system, the digestive system, and the muscular system.
After all her "learning", she told me, "Mama, now I can be a doctor, because I know all about the body." Pretty cool!
So if you, too, are wondering if you are doing enough with your kids, younger or older, I would say to you - relax. If you are facilitating an environment that promotes learning at all time, including their free play time, your kids are learning plenty. They are learning way more than you realize.
Have a suggestion for some creative learning? Something that your kids do that doesn't scream "SCHOOL" to them? Something they find fun and is still educational at the same time? Share your ideas! I would love to hear how you make life your school.