It’s kinda funny.
I homeschool my children. My husband is a teacher. We get excited about the possibility of a snow day because it means Daddy will get to stay home and play with us, not because we will get out of school.
Today around our city there were MANY scenes just like this one:
All over town, there were kids playing outside in the middle of the road in the middle of the day enjoying the thrill of being pulled down the street on a sled, throwing snowballs and just being “kids.”
But here’s the really awesome thing: These kids can *often* be found outside in the road in the middle of the day; the only thing out of the ordinary in this picture is the snow. Usually they can be found riding scooters, making up some new game, enjoying time with their siblings and neighborhood kids of various ages. They are frequently found enjoying the freedom and beauty of learning just by being, and spending time with their friends and family.
The funny thing about snow days for homeschoolers: We don’t have to have school canceled to enjoy days like this. We enjoy days like this every single day. We just change the schedule a bit and incorporate a lesson on weather.
You see, my schooling philosophy goes something like this: “All of life is school”. For us, school is not a place that you “go” to. School is not something that you “do” at designated times. Most days, school happens just by virtue of breathing. (Now don’t get me wrong; We do school. We do a LOT of school. We just don’t always call it “school.” We sit down sometimes and do worksheets, we do science experiments, we read lists of words, we read history, we listen to music, we do art projects with little scissors, glue sticks and construction paper.)
Every morning, Abby comes in our room and tells us what time it is. She reads the clock on the wall and tells us pretty much to the minute what time it is. That’s school. (Math!)
Some days, she helps her daddy make pancakes. She reads the directions on the box of pancake mix and she measures the water in a measuring cup. She observes the liquid batter turn in to a solid pancake. That’s school. (Science!)
Each day, she sits at her desk (or at the kitchen table, or on her bed with a lap desk, or at the bottom of the stairs) and writes out a Bible verse. That’s hiding God’s word in her heart. And oh yeah, that’s school. (Handwriting!)
Some days she goes and plays with our neighbors (who also homeschool) and plays “Little House on the Prairie” or “Mother and Daughter” or any number of imaginary games. They role play relationships (mother and child, father and mother), important life events (having a baby!), household duties (setting the table, cooking dinner), dealing with difficult circumstances (“It’s snowing and we have to get to town to buy grain or we will starve!”) That’s school. (Social studies, people!)
Many times I find her drawing and writing stories for her friends. Not only is she cultivating personal relationships, she’s spelling and writing. That’s school! (Language Arts!)
Today we had some friends over. They played outside in the snow and then they came in and “played school”. (They practiced the ABC’s on the chalkboard in the hallway.) Then later, we played with some more friends. After playing in the snow some more, they went inside and made paper snowflakes and drank hot chocolate. (By the way: Making paper snowflakes? ART TIME!)
For dinner, we had friends over to share a meal. Abby helped cook and set the table and helped clean our home to make it lovely for our guests. That’s school! (Home Ec!)
At bedtime, Abby and I read about the solar system. Tonight’s chapter was about the earth and how it’s orbit around the sun produces the seasons. I had just boxed up the Christmas ornaments and one of them was a lovely gift from one of Bruce’s students – a miniature globe. We got it out and we put a lamp in the middle of the floor and then walked around the lamp with the globe and observed at what point it would be summer, winter, spring and fall. We saw that as it rotates, half of it was dark and half of it had light from the “sun” shining on it, thereby demonstrating day and night. We summed it up by reading Genesis 1:14 – 19:
“And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.”
So today, we skipped the planned Math lesson. (Although we *did* have to figure out how many plates we would need to accommodate our company and how many extra chairs we would have to get to make room at our table.) And though we did our science lesson at bedtime instead of during “schooltime”, we enjoyed the freedom that schooling this way affords.
It just makes sense.