This is Part 4 in a possibly never-ending series of observations on things about which many homeschoolers seem to have blind spots. I do this because I really am very poorly socialized and just don’t know when to shut up.
Homeschoolers have an amazing capacity for finding lessons in day-to-day chores. Baking a pie is a perfect lesson for a kindergartener: measuring, counting, fractions, science, and nutrition, all in one tasty pan. Building a tree-house can become a pretty thorough geometry lesson with just a little added thought. And science lessons are right outside the back door, just waiting for us to take advantage of them.
I am constantly amazed at the ways homeschoolers fit lessons into their lifestyles, and I try to emulate my betters (that would be, um, all of you) in this regard. You people are awesome. The line between school and life is often seamless for experienced homeschoolers, and I think that is a fantastic way to live. Learning is life, and life is learning.
We seem to have something of a philosophical disagreement when it comes to housework. Even my husband fails to see my point here, but I, stubborn soul that I am, maintain that we (you) homeschoolers have a big blind spot where daily chores are concerned.
Admit it, homeschoolers: Chores are not schoolwork.
Now, don’t work yourselves into a frenzy in my comments section just yet. I’ve already heard just how much kids can learn about life while cleaning their rooms. I know the drill about responsibility and self-discipline. I insist that my children do their fair share around the house, too. I just don’t think that’s homeschooling. What that is, is parenting. Period. We homeschoolers don’t have a corner on that market.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a tweet or read a blog post about how someone is putting the books away for a “life-skills” day. I do that pretty often myself, but with a difference. I’m not calling it school. It’s not. It’s routine maintenance of the home, which they’d be doing whether I was homeschooling them or not. In states where recording attendance isn’t required, there’s no reason to even give the distinction a second thought. If your state is blessed with such freedom, school is whatever you say it is, and that’s the end of the question. Where I come from though, I’d feel just a tad dishonest marking down a housekeeping day as one of my requisite 180.
Maybe I’m missing something here, but isn’t brushing your teeth a life skill? If so, mark this down as a school day, Ma, I just brushed my teeth! I don’t know very many parents, homeschooling or not, who don’t teach their children to make their beds, clean their rooms, and feed the dog. Furthermore, I don’t often see non-homeschooling parents yanking their kids out of school because the closets just have to be cleaned today. Hey, they get credit! They’re learning! Tell that to the principal when you write the note explaining little Jimmy’s absence and see what he thinks of it.
Just a little heads-up homeschoolers: they’re onto us. We sometimes need a day off to get the house back in shape. That’s great. I encourage cleanliness! But I’ll bet it makes non-homeschooling families just a little bit crazy when we pretend that our life-skills days are any different from their weekend clean-ups and then have the audacity to give ourselves school credit for it.
Part 3 is here.