Homeschooling families are busy people, and we are often on the go. When my children were young, I often worried that I was barely squeezing learning-time in between all of the other activities of the day. Can you relate?
At a certain point in my homeschooling journey, I realized that I was overlooking golden opportunities for learning. Most of us spend our fair share of time with our kids eating meals, taxiing them from here to there, experiencing long waits at the doctor’s office, and tending to household tasks like cooking and cleaning. Over time, I recognized that amazing learning can happen during these ordinary moments of our days.
Here are a few of the ways to fit meaningful learning into even the busiest schedules:
Read aloud stories, poetry, and passages from text books to your family at mealtime. This is particularly fun because it’s a chance for multi-age siblings to hear the same stories and to enjoy meaningful discussions together afterwards.
Listen to music at the dinner table. The kids can pick the tunes or you can organize listening themes based on specific composers or genres of music.
Listen to audio recordings in the car. These can be stories, foreign language lessons, multiplication tables set to music, or whatever else you and your children choose.
If you have an emergent reader in your home, ask him to read to you while you prepare a meal.
Instead of formal handwriting, spelling and dictation lessons, ask your child to make the grocery list. Dictate the items the child should write down, and encourage her to add a few favorite foods of her own.
Turn ordinary errands into fantastic field trips. Visits to the post office, dentist’s office, or grocery store are rich with learning potential.
While you and an older child are folding laundry, engage in a good, meaty discussion about history, science or politics.
Need to walk the dog? Invite your child along and practice a foreign language together.
Did a relative drop by unexpectedly? Sounds like the perfect time to practice piano!
Waiting rooms are a great place to fit in some learning. Tell your child, “Let’s do our math while we wait to have our teeth cleaned, and then there will be more time to play outside when you get home.”
Words and numbers are everywhere. Point them out to young children when you are out and about in your community.
Work on developing your child’s navigation skills by asking your child to guide you to your next destination.
Our children are observing and absorbing information around them every minute of the day. With just a little extra attention and care, we can maximize opportunities for learning even during the busiest of days.