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Monday, January 23, 2012

Our School is Everywhere!

Some of Kieran's favorite books are the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne. In #18, Buffalo Before Breakfast, the series' main characters - Jack and Annie - are transported via the Magic Tree House back to the 19th century Great Plains, where they encounter a Lakota community.

They befriend a boy named Black Hawk, and Jack gets the chance to ask him some questions about his tribe's life on the plains. One of the exchanges between Jack and Black Hawk made me smile:

"What about school?" said Jack. "Don't you have to go to school?"
"What is school?" Black Hawk said.
"It's a place where kids go to learn things," Jack explained.
Black Hawk laughed again.
"There is not only one place to learn," he said. "In camp we learn to make clothes, tools, and tepees. On the plains we learn to ride and hunt. We look at the sky and learn courage from the eagle."
Jack wrote:
Lakota school is everywhere. (1)

Kieran and I stopped to talk about how we have school everywhere too. We brainstormed a few ways that we learn every day (these are his responses):
  • We can learn what penguins eat and where they live when we visit the zoo.
  • At the park we can learn about different trees and how to slide.
  • At the Peace Pavilion I learn how to be a superhero and fight crime. (2)
  • When mama was pregnant, I learned that when the head was coming out and mama was saying "ow ow ow ow ow," that she stopped when I rubbed her head.

As Kieran and Papa relax near me right now playing dominoes, I notice how Kieran is learning sequencing, matching, number recognition, taking turns, and new vocabulary words.

Because Kieran is home helping me with a newborn, he is learning to care for a baby, to contribute to a healthy family by helping out more around the house, to respect the needs of others, and to adapt to the changes that life sometimes brings.

In the past few weeks, we've had several co-op classes:
  • Kieran has made homemade bread and butter (reading and math - learning how to read a recipe, follow directions, measure);
  • he has learned new games in an outdoor gross motor games class (motor and social skills - learning game rules, taking turns, using motor skills through running, jumping, kicking);
  • he has learned how to make almond milk (science and math - learning how matter changes, how to follow directions);
  • and he has learned how to make vinegar and baking soda volcanoes and rockets (physics and chemistry - learning how matter changes through chemical reactions, how those chemical reactions can affect other objects).

We don't just "homeschool."

Our school is everywhere.


Dionna is a lawyer turned work at home mama of her amazing son, Kieran, and a beautiful new daughter, Ailia. You can normally find Dionna over at Code Name: Mama where she shares information, resources, and her thoughts on natural parenting and life with little ones.

1. Buffalo Before Breakfast at 62.
2. Ok, this response made me laugh, since the Peace Pavilion (a local non-profit children's center) is all about resolving problems peacefully.



  1. I absolutely love this post. Even though I am a trained teacher, I never thought that I'd be interested in homeschooling, but now that I am a SAHM, all I think about is, "what a wonderful opprotunity to make everyday about learning!" You've said it perfectly in this post! Thank you!

  2. Thank you, Amy! I have always loved (and excelled in) school, and it's been a surprise to me how quickly I've embraced the thought of a different journey. Even (gasp) unschooling!


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