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    • Oh definitely. I think homeschooling naturally lends itself to creating at least three varieties of those special moments and memories. 

      I know parents whose kids go to public school, though, who experience something similar because of some deliberate choices they’ve made. I’ll explain. 

      The first type of memorable moment is when you and your child experience delightful learning together. For us, this doesn’t ever look like a Pinterest-worthy craft. It’s much more likely to look like an event in our community that we have a deeper appreciation for because of what we’ve been learning. 

      The eclipse was a great example because I knew about it long in advance and I decided to study astronomy in preparation. We all got curious together reading astronomy books like this one: , attending the eclipse event at the local library, listening to a NASA scientist present at a homeschool friend’s house, star gazing late at night (what a treat for kids!) with high powered telescopes and a guide from the local enthusiast club, etc. Aside from buying the book, I mainly just kept my eyes open for opportunities and jumped on them. 

      I was genuinely interested, which led to my kids’ being interested.  Of course it can go the other direction when you jump into what your kids’ are interested in as well. 

      We’ve followed a similar pattern to study a composer and then see the orchestra perform their works, study one of Shakespeare’s plays then watch a performance, study rocks and then go to a local rock show, etc. 

    • When learning isn’t something you do TO a child, but you do alongside them, it’s a pretty beautiful thing. Homeschoolers definitely don’t have the monopoly on this but it’s easier because you direct the curriculum.  Anyone could find out what their child is learning at school, though, or choose one thing to do/learn in the summer together. 

      ... and sometimes you just plain get lucky. We’d been studying ancient Egypt and reading a great adventure novel set in that time (The Golden Goblet), when we went to our local children’s museum to play. We found out they were doing a special jaw-dropping exhibit on the discover of King Tut’s tomb. Usually I don’t pay extra for special exhibits but I recognized this as a golden opportunity. Every one of us (except the toddler) happily spent hours wide-eyed over that exhibit. I’ll remember the wonder on my kids’ faces over this coffin a long time.

    • The next type of memory I alluded to is at least as significant to me: learning done in the margins. 

      I try to leave plenty of margin in our day for our kids to be just kids. That means even my 5th grader who is passionate about math is doing 30 minutes of math a day and when the timer beeps she’s done. My goal is to put a limit on formal schooling, so my kids have adequate time to be bored and learn how to fix that by being interested in stuff. 

      I have to continually check myself on this because it’s so tempting to sneak in more good academics and “educational opportunities” but I’m continually amazed by the cool stuff my kids come up with all on their own given enough time and brain space. 

      Again, homeschooling generally gives lots more free time in the day but any parent can protect their child’s free time and cut back on scheduled activities to allow more unstructured time. Doing less is more when it comes to childhood I think. Sprinkle some interesting books around the house, give the kids access to the recycling pile and see what they come up with.

      Excuse the poor picture quality, but this was a fun memory for me. I walked into the bathroom to find these girls learning about bats (I think?) and giggling like crazy in the bathtub.

    • Last one... promise! The most special memories for me are probably the everyday ones of just being together as a family. The older siblings snuggling the new baby in the morning because they aren't rushing anywhere. The 8 year old helping the 6 year old with spelling very authoritatively and making atrocious mistakes while the 11 year old and I have tears rolling down our cheeks from suppressed laughter.

      Again, homeschool doesn't have a monopoly on these moments. I think we just plain spend more time together, which helps.

      It does seem to be more common among homeschoolers to have kids really play with and appreciate all ages. There's no eye-rolling about spending time with the younger ones.

      By the way, you asked for "special" moments and I took the positive spin on that word. But homeschooling is definitely not all roses and there are plenty of especially tough and messy memories I could have shared as well!