Summer Learning….It’s All Been Arranged

One of the best things about summer is that it reminds us that educating our children is not just up to us.

You’ll see this when you watch your child at the beach. I get to do this a lot because we’re blessed to have a beach a few blocks from our house. We can spend a lot of time there during the two warm months that comprise summer in northeast Wisconsin.

At the beach, my son takes his shovel and bucket and creates mountains, castles, roads, levees….he just lets his imagination loose and he has a ball. I don’t have to participate at all. In fact, now that he’s older, he prefers that I butt out! He has his own ideas.

When I watch him problem-solve after the tide takes down part of a wall of his castle, or when stray toddlers march through his masterpiece, leaving destruction in their wake, I’m reminded yet again that he’s capable of learning all on his own. He not only fixes the problem, but makes the project even better in the process.

Now, this particular son is 16 and developmentally delayed, but I saw the same thing in my older children when they were young, and I’m sure you see it in yours. God enables everyone to learn. While we homeschooling parents work hard to make a good learning environment for our children, it’s not up to us to make things happen. God has already taken care of that part.

This knowledge can be very freeing, if you’re a conscientious mom who wants to make sure her children learn what they need to know. This summer, give your children a bucket and a magnifying glass and take them to a pond so they can inspect the pond water for living creatures. Hand them a package of colored chalk and let them loose on the driveway or sidewalk. Don’t get involved in what they’re doing. Just watch, and you’ll see what I mean.

5 thoughts on “Summer Learning….It’s All Been Arranged

  1. Would this be called “Hands Off Learning’? 🙂 Why is it harder sometimes to sit back and watch (or let) the kids learn…a mom thing perhaps? I agree completely, Barb. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. After eight years of homeschooling I feel tired of the pressure to be always organizing my kids’ learning. I need breaks. I see that the natural learning never ends with my kids, as long as they have access to supplies, books, nature… and some healthy boundaries (re: limited media time, for instance).

  3. Yeah, kids are naturally curious so after a long winter of organized learning some time to unwind and just enjoy the process is in order. I just tell the kids to get outside and they do the rest.

  4. Karen, that’s a good name for it 🙂

    Kika, John Taylor Gatto says:

    “…teaching is nothing like the art of painting, where, by the addition of material to a surface, an image is synthetically produced, but more like the art of sculpture, where, by the subtraction of material, an image already locked in the stone is enabled to emerge. It is a crucial distinction.”

    In his speeches, he elaborates that what a teacher should do is help “subtract material” by getting out of the way except to facilitate the child’s learning when he needs it. That helps the child while taking pressure off of us to “do everything.”

    Janet, with your crew, I’ll bet you could watch all day!

    Michelle, isn’t it nice how that works? 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by, everyone!

    (see this quote at

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