One of the things I have learned about teaching our children is that the more they can do in "real life" as opposed to an artificial classroom setting the happier they are and the more they learn.
This doesn't always translate well to the outside world that considers school to be several hours a day behind a desk.
It is much more common for our school day to have a limited amount of "formal" school time and much more conversation, debate, projects, activities, caring for family members, helping in the neighborhood, investigating things each one is interested in, following Daddy around the garage, and so much more. Learning is endless...our biggest challenge was learning to recognize the value of real life lessons.
When our children are young there is a certain amount of copy work and structured learning that absolutely must happen to lay the ground work for teaching them to learn. As High School students this type of learning is reduced to math, English and spelling, as it relates to the disciplines of sitting down to school.
History, Science, Geography, Computer Lab, Keyboarding, Home Ec, Phys Ed and Civics are most often caught as we read great books, work on a dirt bike, help Mom make dinner, write a blog, learn to use a photo editing program just for fun, watch those favorite shows such as Myth Busters or Netflix DVD's on a specific subject. It is always great to tie our History and Bible together and really get a feel for how the many stories we have learned all of these years fit into the known World History of the time.
We find ourselves making time to spend with friends for skating, bowling, movies, English Country Balls, Bible Study, riding dirt bike, rocketry, playing capture the flag...and so much more.
Each of these things has something valuable to offer the entire homeschool experience.
Mikey is often found outside with his garden or plotting and planning for a friend who has requested his design service...that is when he is not at work learning about business, taking care of customers, keeping a store stocked and other valuable lessons you gain in a work environment.
Our homeschool certainly looks different than it did when the kids were in elementary grades but I wouldn't change a thing.
When I find a resistant reader finishing a book because a friend recommended it...and it is non-fiction and has a great message or another son listens to a short message on the radio and comments on a subject that most kids his age wouldn't care about in the least there is that little sigh...a sigh that says these are the real learning times.
I document them as the valuable school time that they are.
This post is overly simplistic but hopefully you catch the intent.
Homeschool must be practical.
We must adjust and use the real world to prepare our
children to be adults out there.
They need to learn how to learn more than they need to
have statistics and facts shoved in their brains for memorization
for a test. These things tend to just fall back out after the
test is completed anyway.
This may be the hardest way to homeschool.
I say that because it is much easier to feel we
have "done school" when we have processed through
workbooks and texts.
It is harder to quantify a year's worth of work when
it is made up of thoughtful conversations, books read
for fun, projects and caring, added responsibilities.
But it is a worthwhile endeavor!