I grew up in the era when schools were experimenting with open classrooms–or rooms without walls. My parents were appalled as they visited the new building and found bookshelves as dividers and mats in place of auditorium chairs. A third-grade student at the time, I just loved the ‘newness.’ A ‘nerd’ from childhood, I guess, I was just excited to be surrounded with things to learn! Maps, books, globes–I can still see it in my mind. Distraction was not an issue because learning fascinated me. For the most part, my attention was not disrupted because the opportunity in front of me already captivated me.
More than that, I think the presence of distractions proved to be a tool for building my focus. While teachers could be heard in adjacent ‘rooms,’ my focus had to be trained on the teacher in my area. I can not be certain of the reason, but I forty years later, my ability to focus despite distractions remains. My family has been frustrated more than once while I worked on a writing and tuned everything out around me. It is a blessing hard to describe.
So, why do I share all this–as if it has bearing on our homeschool classrooms. Because I believe it does. We teach in the midst of life. Dogs bark, doorbells ring and family needs flow in and out of our lesson plans. What a blessing for our children! Although we must impress upon our children (and often our extended families and friends) the priority of education, we do not need to stress over teaching amidst distractions. Life is rich in learning; home education embraces that learning along with the books. Take joy in the unexpected lessons being learned!