Yesterday we went to a local state park.  It wasn’t a field trip and we did no “school work” and I make NO apologies for that.  We are having lovely weather right now and if you live anywhere near the armpit of Texas, you KNOW how rare this weather is! 

One of the mom’s was questioned by the park ranger when she came in as to what we homeschoolers were doing in the park yesterday.  She wanted to know if we were learning or just having fun.  The mom replied that we were having fun and calling it learning.  From what I understand, she got a “tsk, tsk” from the ranger.  Here’s the problem I have with the question from the ranger (a former teacher, no less).  Are FUN and LEARNING mutually exclusive?  Can you either be learning OR having fun?  I really want to know. 

I’ve written up a few lesson plans in my day and I KNOW that teachers  assign a standard or educational goal to each activity that they do.  You can make ANYTHING sound educational with the right words. 

Yesterday the children engaged in critical thinking skills, engineering, physics, hands on life science, physical education, fine motor skills, identification and classification, cause and effect and problem solving skills. 

  State Education Boards have standards and guidelines as to what students must be learning at any given grade.  Does presenting the information and testing on it REALLY mean that the student learned ANYTHING?  What is learning?  Why must a third grader know what sedimentary rock is?  Do you remember the names of 10 different trees by reading about them in a textbook? 

I value education.  Literature, English, Writing, Geography, Spelling, Math and Science are ALL important to me.  I find value in formally learning each subject.  But I also value life.  I value my children’s interest, art and nature.  I want our lives to be enriched by what we see and what we do. 

In my house, we are going to learn AND have FUN doing it!