I saw this question being bantered about in the HE world recently and it made me think this question: How many hours do I educate my children for? I think the real question is do I ever stop educating my children? Or even more accurately do my children ever stop educating themselves?
I give my children quite a structured education. More so my eldest two; they like it and it works for us. But then I feel to only include the hours that we spend at the table with workbooks is not a true reflection on how many hours they are learning in total.
If I sleep in a little late in the morning what do they do? They read books; use the computer; get creative with the art resources that we always have in the house; write out their own personal time table for the day (that one is a strange one because I've never done a time table for them, but there you go); sometimes they've even been found to have their heads in workbooks as I come down the stairs; they knit; they sew; they play board games. So I actually have no idea how many hours a day they spend learning.
Even though all of this happens inside the house and just because we are a family who love to sit with our workbooks scribbling away, sitting at the table or on a sofa, isn't the only way to educate a child. Learning doesn't always take place in the home. Just because it says Home Education on the tin, doesn't mean we spend day after day couped up inside 4 walls. I take them out!
HB plays spot the word regularly, reads signposts, labels, reads numbers off of buses or price tags. N works out how much change she should get and C works out which is the better deal. They manage their pocket money. Trips to museums, parks, zoos, farms and so on!
They also spend hours every week on Mathletics for the big two and reading eggs and education city for HB, I find this backs up things we've learnt together giving them endless practice. All the Google searches and other interactive online computer resources they love so much. C with her online scrabble matches!
Then there is all the endless drawing and measuring. All the baking and cooking! We also love our science experiments, which reminds me that we really should do some of those soon. The girls love their science.
Then there's the documentaries my girls love watching. Even my 4 year old, HB, will happily sit watching documentaries like her two big sisters. It's one of my favourite ways to learn too, just because there is no table, chair, paper and pen involved doesn't make any difference. It goes in and they retain it, that is all that matters!
I love that once my girls start learning about something they don't want to stop. HB started making a scrap book about dinosaurs, and still is, she loves dinosaurs. Then when I taught them about volcanoes they were always on her mind. A bit like the time when she learnt about the Tudor period and she began noticing all the Tudor houses about town, she was only just 3 then!
I think, once you have taught a child all the different ways of learning, they pick their favourite ways and it is harder to stop them learning than anything else - not that I'd want to try. I don't know about you, but I'm still learning and I love it. It is play after all. The same as when a child comes into the world and from day one they are learning. Playing is learning, watching is learning, copying is learning.
I think my children may even be learning in their sleep!