Play Learning in the Summer

What do you do with leftover strawberry tops after making strawberry jam?

Well, the sensible thing to do would be compost them.

That is, unless you have a three and five year old in your home. Then it seems much more sensible to play with them!

Pretend gardening anyone?

Harvesting with your “tractor”.

I see the kids emulating us…playing Adam and I as we embark on this journey to grow all our own food and buy only local, in-season food.

Sometimes, especially after watching an episode of Sid the Science Kid, I long for my children to take a school lesson and run outside to “play” it, allowing the learning to sink to that deeper long-term memory center of their brain. Occasionally a history figure will capture them like Sacagawea and they do play what they learn, but mostly not. That’s not to say that they don’t use the concrete in play…like letters and numbers and reading…they most certainly do…just not those stories of history and science and art and music that I had hoped would captivate them. While they enjoyed their history, no one was outside “playing” Statue of Liberty last week!

That said...playing is an integral part of learning and it reaches us in a way no other learning can. Do you know what a three and five year old play? They play what seems of value…what is important…what they want to do and try when they grow up. Why do you think dolls never go out of style?  They see and sense what is really of value to us as an adult. We can say one thing with our lips but they are much more intent on watching our actions.

This is the secret that the unschoolers embrace and are not afraid of. This is the truth that us homeschool listmakers who want to track progress usually fail to grasp. And even if we know it we are mostly afraid to allow our children to live it. I know for myself there is comfort in the checking off of the yearly school list.

But if playing gardening and composting is where they are at, I think of what their futures hold and I smile and relax. I am teaching the important things even if they weren’t in a school lesson! Maybe my kids won’t remember everything I taught them about history…okay…most definitely. But maybe they will be a part of history, changing it for the better and passing that down to their own kids. That is a lesson worth teaching!

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

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7 thoughts on “Play Learning in the Summer

  1. This is just fun. Kids imaginations are just amazing to me. I love seeing the things that they can think up on their own.

  2. Aww! How cute! And good for you to let them play with them (even though it could’ve / probably was messy)! Stopping in from Weekly Wrap-up!

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