The Repurposed Homeschool

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An encouraging blog reader whom I’ll call KW writes me often in response to particular posts. I love hearing from her. We’ve only met in person at conventions and that only a few times, but she brightens my day often with a paragraph or two, a sentence or two, or sometimes just a handful of words.

She has great insights, sweet encouragements, and sometimes just a simple, practical question, like the one she asked the other day, related to children having things to do during read-aloud times. “How did your family deal with the noise of LEGOs® when the child is searching for the right parts for what he is building?” she asked.

At first I was stumped. Though we were still giving John LEGOs® for birthdays even after he was our business partner in Notgrass Company(!), that was a while ago!

<em>John, the Lego Builder -- Check out that Commodore 64 in the background! Have any of you ever used one of those?</em>
John, the LEGO Builder, with his version of Cair Paravel from the Chronicles of Narnia.

Noisy LEGOs® do sound like a tough thing to deal with during read-alouds. How did we deal with that? I wondered. Then it came back to me.

Here’s how I responded:

Hmmm. I don’t remember for sure about the LEGOs® but I have an idea. You are probably going to think we are very weird, but John had his very organized. He used a hardware type of organizer with lots of little drawers and kept similar pieces in each one. Believe me, we aren’t organized about everything! But, anyway, I guess that is what helped. He was digging through 30 pieces instead of hundreds. We had clinks instead of a roar.

John’s mountain of LEGOs® and organized containers went with him when he got married, but here’s a similar drawer thingy I use in my closet. I brought it downstairs last night for a LEGO® photo shoot.

I don't need my drawer thingy for my original purpose and am wondering what to do with it now. Anyone have any ideas?
Still Life with LEGOs

Actually, I like organization and I often find that organizers made for one thing work great for organizing something very different. I have  socks and belts in a hanging fabric shoe organizer, bird seed in an old Christmas popcorn tin that looks like a milk can, and sewing supplies — and lots of other things — in glass jars. I was repurposing before repurposing was cool.

Learning to repurpose is a vital skill for homeschooling mamas. Homeschooling mamas can:

  • Repurpose a walk in the woods into a science lesson — a gentle, inquisitive, imaginative science lesson, not an eye-rolling lecture.
  • Repurpose thank you notes, journals, and letters to the editor into English lessons.
  • Repurpose a Sunday concert into a lesson in history, geography, and music appreciation.

The Master teacher was a master at repurposing.

One day Jesus and His disciples were caught in a storm. Jesus turned it into a lesson about faith (Matthew 8:23-27).

One day a woman came to a well to get some water. Jesus turned it into a lesson about living water and eternal life (John 4:7-27).

One day some men brought Jesus a woman caught in the very act of adultery. Jesus turned it into a lesson about their own sin (John 8:2-11).

By sitting with your children in your house and walking along the road with them and being with them when you lie down and when you rise up (Deuteronomy 11:19) and having the same purpose as Jesus, you, too, can implement repurposed homeschooling that will benefit your children eternally.

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ,
if there is any consolation of love,
if there is any fellowship of the Spirit,
if any affection and compassion,
make my joy complete by being of the same mind,
maintaining the same love, united in spirit,
intent on one purpose.
Philippians 2:1-2

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