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Can I Count This As School? How Homeschooling Can Blur The Lines!

I never realized until I was an adult that learning never ends. Now that I am constantly acquiring new knowledge from documentaries, podcasts, books, and (quite often) my children. They often ask questions I've never considered, and we look up the answers together. Sometimes they learn a new facts from books, TV shows, friends or even YouTube and share it with me.

I grew up in public school setting, learning was my 8-3 job. While I loved to read and was curious child, I definitely didn’t consider my hobbies to be educational. Fun and entertainment were only available after the school day was over. I failed to adopt the mentality that everything in life can be a learning experience and that learning really is fun. 

As a homeschooling family, my children do not have these preset boundaries between school and everything else. This lack of distinction can be amazing but can also can cause confusion. While they know that we have to accomplish some school work or curriculum every day, maybe working through math, a science project or reading some history books. Beyond the lesson plans in the teachers guides and workbooks, it is often confusing to know what really counts as school. We’ve watched Magic School Bus videos and counted it as a science lesson. They love watching Magic School Bus and we’re super stoked it counted as school work. That is where their questions started, “Does this get to count as school?”

  • Every place we go...

  • Every show we watch...

  • Every book we read...

  • Every thing we cook...

  • Every activity they try...

  • Every game we play...

brings on the question, "Does this get counted as school?”

When they get to have a fun activity and get it counted as school work, they get an extra sense of joy! Learning is never viewed as boring yet necessary. Instead, learning becomes a never ending part of an exciting and knowledge filled life. As homeschoolers, we love to drive the point home that learning can and should be exciting, and so far for my kids the notion seems to be working!

While this works great for us, some kids struggle with this notion. Especially kids who have attended public school in the past. This idea can feel so foreign that it actually inhibits their ability to learn. After talking with other homeschool moms, I gathered ideas of ways to ease these kids who struggle with the idea of learning as fun.  Here are our top picks:

  • Field trips

  • Watching a documentary

  • Hiking/nature walks

  • Video games

  • Building sets

  • Using Siri or Alexa to answer questions

  • Cooking and baking 

  • Play board games

  • STEM/STEAM projects

  • Monthly subscription kits

  • Arts & Crafts

Even if your child struggles with the idea of learning being fun, you can push forward. It may hinder them now, but with effort, I know they will eventually come to enjoy the blurred line between fun and school without being able to even see that dividing line that used to hold them back.

Most everything we do counts as school because learning is everywhere.

  • Playing with trains, blocks or bricks creates lessons about gravity, structure, and architecture.

  • Running around on a playground can teach how physics works.

  • Video games are amazing at hand eye coordination, teaching cooperation, and enhance creativity.

  • Cooking /Baking are amazing ways to breakout those math skills using fractions, volume and time.

  • Field trips can cover vast areas of learning such as History, Animals, Geology and Space.

I find great joy in answering, “Yes, this counts as school. You’re learning! Isn’t it fun?” because the more often my kids has fun while they are learning, the sooner he will realize that learning never ends. The world is their classroom. Sometimes I will even bend the rules just to enforce the idea that learning is fun. “Yes, I’m quite certain that a Nerf gun war is school work." There's no real reason to protect the distinction between recreation and learning, between fun and school. It all counts! Life is learning!

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