When I think back to early childhood education, I have memories of dozens of little desks, a hook with my name over it for my jacket, a shelf for a long line of lunch boxes, a half dozen or more charts fastened to the walls and chalk dust or the smell of dry erase markers. These aren’t bad memories. However, they are just memories. They don’t define school or education. They can give a certain description of a kind of education, but they don’t define education.
I’ve seen many blog posts of how folks set up their homeschool classroom. They were all lovely little “learning” centers that seem to work for their family. However, I purposefully never set up a homeschool classroom, ever, and we are on year 4 of homeschooling. Oops. I never set up learning centers, scoured local ads for vintage little desks or set up a chalkboard or large dry erase board for heavy duty lecture.
I Homeschool Because I Don’t Want the Typical School Experience
There’s nothing wrong with a typical school experience. I had one and currently have enough stimulated brain cells to type out this blog. What happened is that I had a variety of classes in college where lecture was incredibly limited. We chose topics that we wanted to focus on and the professor had us learn in small groups. We could take our small group outside if desired and sitting at a desk wasn’t required. You could sit, stand, kneel, squat, lay on the floor, whatever. I acquired a vast amount of knowledge in those classes! Not only that, but instead of feeling any stress when entering the classroom to check in, I felt a real joy of learning.
We Need to Move More
One of my favorite books on movement, which is different than scheduled workouts or exercise is by biomechanist, Katy Bowman. She plainly explains how we really need to move more and use our full range of motion, daily. Not just that, but things like the soles of our feet need stimulation to work properly. When reading her material I was reminded how some of my favorite classes in college were pretty loose on the “keep your shoes on” policy. You can find “Move Your DNA” here.
One of my children reading poetry on the floor:
Sitting on a yoga block (here) with legs forward to keep the pelvis in proper alignment:
Using a plant stand to rest a book. A low coffee table could be used as well especially for writing if she tires of lying on the floor. Standing while writing at a counter would also work.
This doesn’t mean that my children can’t use a chair or work at the dining table if they desire, it just means that there’s plenty of options and they mostly avoid the table.
Staying Indoors Isn’t Necessary:
There’s a lot to be said for fresh air and sunshine. The sun provides vitamin D and reduces stress. Fresh air has a way of relaxing the body and clearing the mind. Our Creator has provided an amazing thing in nature and nature really is a fantastic teacher. When barefoot or wearing a more minimal shoe, the soles of the feet are stimulated and this has an effect on our energetic flow.
Everyone Learns Differently
Maybe some families get really good results with some hardcore lecture while the parent stands in front of a dry erase board. I’ve never installed one, so I wouldn’t know. I do know that for my family, we enjoy sitting or standing near the student in need of instruction and explaining topics to them while we are side by side or while sitting on the floor. In a typical home there are dozens of props one could use to explain simple math and plenty of ways to use different surfaces to practice lettering.
I Didn’t Create a Classroom Because Life is a Classroom
Education is everywhere and every day. There isn’t just a certain time during the day for education. Education happens all the time and education goes beyond reading, writing and arithmetic. What is the point of education if one can’t care for their body properly with daily movement and nourishing food? It’s hard to learn when you feel bad or can’t concentrate. The last two topics (daily movement and nourishing foods) aren’t typically taught and whether children are in school outside of the home or homeschooled, these topics typically fall on the shoulders of the parents to teach and demonstrate in the daily home life.