For my family, some of these spontaneous activities have been some of the most memorable, like our random stop at the local vernal pools, only to discover owl pellets. This discovery led to a week’s fascination with owls, aside from what we were already studying at the time.
Or, the time my daughters caught a frog in our backyard. Who knew that we would have the chance to get a close-up look at the body of a frog and later to discover that frogs take in water through their skin, rather than their mouths.
Yes, we’ve even had a fascination with spiders since my youngest daughter discovered the shiny Black Widow on the inside of our garage panel (eek!). But, now we know all about these fascinating creatures and have even had the chance to visit a resident Black Widow in the local wildlife museum. It's not exactly what I had planned to learn at the time, but we gained a great education in arachnids!
Not only that, on many occasions, books have inspired writing, drawing, or building projects that were never anticipated.
One of a teacher’s most rewarding moments is seeing the spark of discovery in a child’s eye. As we seek continual sparks (and even fireworks), try focusing on an area of interest with your child.
- Did your kids find a worm in the backyard? Use it for a lesson in measurement, science, or even art!
- Encourage your child’s enthusiasm to create their own books by leaving homemade construction paper books out as an invitation to write. They might be inspired to author a book with a similar pattern to the book just read, or maybe they'll be inspired to illustrate!
- Hearing a familiar tune being sung by your child? Challenge them to come up with rhyming words that fit the tune, or insert facts to make the song their own creation!
- Take a 15 minute detour on the way home to stop and walk at a local nature area. Awaken all of your senses and chat with your kids about what they notice. If a question comes up about an animal, plant, or sound, take mental note and help your child discover the answer soon after. This may lead to a variety of other discoveries along the way.
What spontaneous activities have led to learning in your homeschool?