The truth is, everyone homeschools their kids. I’m quite serious when I say this. Kids will learn from everything around them! Today was a good example:
The kids and I went for a walk in the back field. (That’s what we call the big field just a short walk through the woods from our house.) The boys noticed and followed a particular butterfly from flower to flower. We made a note of what it looked like so that we could look it up when we got home. We also took note of the type of flowers that it seemed to like. When we got to the spot with a big rock pile we looked over the different kinds of rocks. We picked out granite with agate flecks in it, and found some shale. The boys were impressed that if they found a thin enough piece they could break the rock! This lead to an explanation about how that particular type of rock is formed. The kids ran around playing and having plenty of fun as well! I’m pretty sure that a princess was rescued from a monster!
Aaron joined us, and the kids were all quite thrilled to have Daddy with them too! The older three followed him on a short hike through the woods, while Little Guy and I took the long way around. By the time I caught up with them they were all observing a squirrel that was chattering loudly at them from a pine tree. All of them were fascinated, and Munchkin offered to show the squirrel where there were some acorns that he could eat. He ended up scurrying away.
Once we got back home, we looked up the butterfly we had seen and found that it was native to Canada, but can be found in the Northern United States as well. The caterpillars like birch trees in particular, and we have plenty of those around! Then Munchkin and Mr. Q got out their nature journals and drew what they had seen. Mr. Q drew the squirrel in the tree, and Munchkin decided to draw the butterfly and the flowers that we had found.
I can understand why Charlotte Mason thought that it was good practice for mothers to become knowledgeable about nature. When outside, kids have so many questions about what they see, and it’s wonderful when I have an answer for them. If I don’t know something then we try to look it up once we are back at the house. The nature journal is another idea suggested by Miss Mason. This is our first year trying it, and the two oldest are really enjoying it!
The kids do learn a lot from regular “lessons”, but it still amazes me how much just getting out for a walk can teach them! They have a natural curiosity and I really hope that they retain that as they get older. Learning isn’t something that can only be done in a classroom with a professional teacher. Whether we realize it or not, so much of our children’s education happens at home!