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Yesterday I revisited the issue of planning. Something I like to have in my back pocket are ways to set aside any textbook driven courses and engage the boys in learning through other venues. It isn’t that textbooks are all bad. It’s just that sometimes we need a breath of fresh air or totally different approach. The ability to educate without textbooks is something I love about homeschooling my kids.
Educate Without Textbooks: Living Books / Unit Studies
Some curriculum we’ve used in the past, e.g. Sonlight, rely almost exclusively on what are considered living books. Even if you are using a more textbook approach to learning, you can always set it aside and find books on the topic which can be read and may be more engaging for the kids.
We’ve used a delight-directed approach to some subjects like science or social studies in the past with project packs like those sold by Homeschool in the Woods or In the Hands of a Child to provide a framework. Then, a trip to the library helps to fill in reading material.
Educate Without Textbooks: Videos
When our youngest son was born, I ended up having an emergency cesarean that led to several weeks of low activity levels. Coupled with the need to pack up the house and move from Maryland to Alaska, I knew that the more textbook and workbook driven course load we’d had earlier in the year needed to be set aside.
The boys ended up watching a lot of educational videos. Discovery Channel, History Channel, the Military Channel and PBS were our best friends during the day when I needed to focus on healing and tending to my baby’s needs. Now we have streaming options like Amazon Instant Prime and Netflix along with some channels on the Roku.
Educate Without Textbooks: Life Skills
Depending upon what your day looks like and the maturity of your kids, delving into what are considered life skills can go a long way for learning. I firmly believe we need to teach our kids how to do basic chores and repairs around the house. The same goes for the entire process needed to feed yourself from buying the groceries to preparing meals. Along the way, you can teach them about the value of money (both earning it and spending it) and how we should be good stewards of all we are given.
Older siblings might also learn about basic care of an infant and toddler as they help mom with those tasks. Any child can learn to interact and play with a younger child, whether it is a sibling or being a mother’s helper for another family.
Finally, learning to communicate with people of all ages and from all walks of life is important. Something I notice for kids who have always attended school is that many are uncomfortable around those outside their immediate peer group.
Educate Without Textbooks: Games & Imaginative Play
Life is more interesting when we are having fun. Or, at least, the time tends to fly by more quickly. Depending upon what you have at hand, there are so many games or types of imaginative play that can be educational. Boggle is a game I purchased to encourage practice of spelling and growing vocabulary. Skills like matching come from playing Old Maid and other math skills can be practiced using a deck of cards.
Storytelling can become a fixture with things like Legos or Playmobil to be the stage and characters. History can be woven into the stories as well.
Educate Without Textbooks: Field Trips
Field trips can be as simple or elaborate as you’d like. It is amazing what you can find local to you that makes a great field trip.
Close to home, we’ve visited a fire station, taken a tour of a local grocery store including a glimpse behind the scenes, seen how pizza is made from scratch at Papa Murphy’s, and gone to a fish hatchery.
Other local tours included a visit to a small radio station to learn how things work, a candy store that shows you how they make the candy through glass partitions, and the air traffic control tower on base.
When we have traveled to visit family, we’ve picked a place or two to visit as ‘tourists’. Last summer it was the Air and Space Museum in D.C. The previous year, we spent a day in Niagra Falls. And, the last time we were in Louisiana, the younger boys stayed with my mom while the rest of us went to the World War II Museum in New Orleans. Another day had us at the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium.
What are some ways you like to educate beyond the textbook?
This post is part of the 5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents Blog Hop with the Schoolhouse Review Crew. Here is another group of awesome homeschool bloggers sharing their tips. Hop on over to see what they are talking about this week!
Jeniffer @ Thou Shall Not Whine
Jennifer @ A Peace of Mind
Jennifer @ Faithful Homestead
Joelle @ homeschooling for His Glory
Joesette @ Learning Curve
Kari @ Random Acts of Boyhood
Katie @ Katie’s Daily Life
Kemi @ Homemaking Organized
Kim @ Homestead Acres
Kylie @ Our Worldwide Classroom