Doctor’s appointments were one of the first reasons I chose homeschooling for our family. I knew there was no way I could be at a doctor’s office 3 hours away and be able to get my “normal” kid off the school bus on time. I knew there was no way I could deal with taking my kids out of school, sometimes several times a week without having some kind of issue with our school district. It wasn’t a challenge I even wished to face.
Homeschooling has allowed me not to have to deal with those issues. I don’t have to report where we’ve been or why we weren’t at school that day. I don’t have to tell anyone why we’re stopping school early or even what our doctors had to say at those appointments because the only person I have to report to is me in my state.
But let’s talk about the days when we have appointments and how we deal with school on these days so that we can include learning on days that most parents would consider an educational loss. There’s always learning going on but sometimes it takes a little bit of looking to make ourselves realize it’s actually happening.
We wake early and head hours down the road to our appointments most days. Once in the car, we can listen to audio discs that tell stories of the past. Story of the World is a history program that has audio to listen to. There are also books on CD, podcasts, radio theater, and other audio’s to listen to. Even just music CD’s can be turned into a lesson by comparing different musical eras or artists and styles.
I’ve heard of other parents who do Flashcards when they have more than one parent in the car. Or small games. Reading books aloud is another option as well but this only works when there’s someone else to help out.
Once we get to the appointment, the day is not necessarily a loss either. In the waiting room, there is opportunity to socialize. Sometimes we can play a game while we wait, like I-Spy. We can read books, or play games on the iPad. Coloring is another option, which helps develop small motor skills.
In the actual office, we discuss the different jobs the staff has. We talk about tools the doctors use. We talk about medical terms and anything else we can related to the doctor we are seeing that day.
Sometimes we also use this time to recite poems, songs, or even math facts as well. Playing circle time games to keep the smaller kids occupied. Whatever it takes but it’s all learning, even when we think it’s just play.
After appointments often brings the real fun. Before the trip, I usually look around to find a fun activity or a place to visit that we can enjoy together. These field trips are always educational and help us bond as a family as well.
Some places we’ve been:
and many more.
These places always bring out some interest that we can discuss and learn with. Sometimes we only have an hour or so before closing, sometimes we have an afternoon but the time is packed with learning experiences that none of us will soon forget.
Even though you may think a day of appointments is a waste, there’s always a way to make it educational and turn it into a homeschooling day that isn’t a total loss. You just have to take time to think outside the box and look at each individual segment for it’s learning capacity. It’s there but often times we just chalk it up to a wasted day when it can be so much more! Next time you feel your day is a waste, take a step back to reevaluate and see how you can turn it into a learning experience instead.
Dana Lambert – Hodge