If there’s anything I love about homeschooling, it’s the ability to take any subject of interest and simply run with it!
Just the other day a conversation about the White House somehow turned into a conversation about the secret service, which turned into another conversation about the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan, and then, before we knew it, we were taking a virtual tour of Air Force One, studying the presidential limo, and learning all about the training and responsibilities of secret service agents. My kids were fascinated.
And I love it when learning can run free this way! Pursuing kids’ interests, even random ones, engenders learning in such an easy, natural way.
But that doesn’t mean I can go chasing off into left field after every subject or question that strikes my kiddos’ fancy! If I did that, we would never get math done. Never.
But that’s why I like having question boards.
I purchased these simple magnetic whiteboards for about $3 a piece and hung one for each of my kids. Their purpose has evolved some with time: At first they were individual homeschooling memo boards, but soon they morphed into personal message boards and then into canvases for impromptu artwork.
But lately these boards have become a great place for jotting down those random, sometimes off-the-wall questions my kids will ask during our homeschool day, like, “Why do our cheeks turn red when we come in from the cold?”
Umm. Because… well…
I love the times we can drop everything and pursue my child’s interest in a bug or an inventor or the origin of the word ‘Tuesday’, but sometimes we just aren’t in a place where we can stop everything else to learn about an off-the-subject interest or question. Like red cheeks on cold days.
But I want my kids asking questions! I want them to know there are answers to the things they’re curious about. Not only that, but I want them to learn for themselves how to find answers to their questions! After all, I won’t always be there to help them, so they need to know how and where to find information for themselves.
But the question boards have become a great storage place for those random points of interest I want to return to when we have time.
When one of my kids raises a question we can’t get to right at that moment, I jot it down on their question board. I also add questions of my own or note subjects I want to talk about as a group when we can find the time. Sometimes we can cover the issue that day, but other times it may be a week or more before we can fit it in. That’s fine! The question, (or note,) stays on the board until we have the time to discuss it.
This is So. Not. Complicated. Often it involves nothing more than a quick Google search and 5 minutes worth of study! But my kids love seeing their questions go up on the board. It shows them their interests matter! And I love how they are coming to understand that asking questions leads to finding answers, which most of us would agree is the key to life-long learning!
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