Dictionary.com defines occasion as a particular time, especially as marked by certain circumstances or occurences. I am the type of person that really enjoys order and scheduling (ahem...control freak), and so I generally think of homeschool as a particular time and place. We have a school room. We have a fairly consistent schedule. I like to have everything marked down in a planner and check it off as we complete each item. For us, homeschool is an occasion (in some sense of the word because this week is "o").
Since we very first began homeschooling, a few negative thoughts have regularly plagued me.
Am I doing enough? Are we accomplishing a similar amount of things as would be accomplished in a private or public school setting? Are they learning enough? Are they doing well enough? Could we be doing more?
We do some school in the summer most summers. We work diligently through our regular semesters. We meet the state requirements for days and times, but I still question myself. In reality, I KNOW they are on target with their public/ private schooled peers (and beyond them in most subject areas). I KNOW they achieve many goals each semester. I KNOW how far they've come. Still it can be hard to quantify a level of learning in homeschool. We can do tests or use state standards to judge but I don't always feel like those are reliable measuring sticks.
God has sent a few people that give me grief in the opposite direction. "Do you ever give your kids a day off school? Aren't they on break yet? How can she/ he be working on THAT already?" (Thanks Mom.) Those comments do allow me to take a deep breath and relax a little.
The thing that gives me the most confidence though is what my kids choose to do on the OCCASIONS (like how I threw that in again?) that they aren't doing school. Now on a regular rushed day we do school, have lunch, do chores, do errands, have dinner, etc. On those days their free time is precious because it is short. On other occasions (now it's just funny), they have days off for our regularly scheduled breaks. Their favorite activities always make me smile.
They like to play with neighborhood friends. SOCIALIZATION! (Just saying.)
They like to read. FOR FUN. Apple usually finishes 2-3 books per week aside from her assigned reading. Speedy always has a book going that he is reading before bed or during free time.
They like to play games together. They enjoy checkers and other board and card games. Now they don't always get along, but they have days when they genuinely enjoy one another's company.
They play outside. Willingly. With no screens.
I could go on and on. They play with Legos. They cook. They make up jingles to popular music. They write "books" and make up plays and business plans. Sometimes they even watch tv or play online games but many times they opt for educational or religious themed media.
All this rambling to say, it doesn't matter if I do enough. They are learning and growing and electing for good activities even in their free time. It's easy to understand that when they are toddlers, they are learning through play. It's just as easy to assume that ends at a certain age. It doesn't always! Take heart. If you worry that the occasions you are doing school aren't enough, take some time to watch your kids in their free time. Think about what they are learning and accomplishing through those activities. Then take a deep breath and realize you are doing just fine!
I'm linking up with Through the Calm and Through the Storm and Adventures with Jude for Blogging Through the Alphabet. Be sure to check out the other "O" posts.