Note: You can now download a printable version of these lists by clicking here: Living Learning List Printables. Enjoy!

I have long been a fan of the Bravewriter Lifestyle List. I love the ideas in it and how an entire language arts experience can be built on a few rich, real-life routines. And then one day it struck me. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a list like that for all the subjects?

What if instead of following a curriculum there was a way to help worried moms facilitate learning in the home without freaking out that things were not being “covered.” And so an idea was born.

I kicked it around in my brain for a while, sure that I was perfectly unqualified to make such lists (and am probably right there). Then the opportunity came up to throw out the idea over at The Well-Trained Mind forums, which has its own little not-so-secret group of relaxed homeschoolers who were receptive to such an idea. So the Living Learning Lists were born.

These lists are the brainchild of a group of women at WTM who shared their ideas. I am posting them here to compile them in one easy-to-snag location and to share with you.

Science

  • Read living science books
  • Nature study
  • Conduct an inquiry experiment with a discovery box
  • Discuss and add questions to the science board for further exploration
  • Science field trip (science museum, zoo, animal habitat)
  • Watch a science documentary or edutainment show (think Magic School Bus)
  • Subscribe to, view, and discuss a science video- or photo-of-the-day
  • Subscribe to and discuss science magazines of interest
  • Look for and discuss science current events
  • Explore a science-themed app or website
  • Read biographies of scientists.
  • Strew experiment books and let kids choose experiments that interest them.

History/Geography

  • Read living history books
  • Read and discuss a This Day in History book or website each day
  • Visit a historical reenactment or museum
  • Attend a history lecture or class
  • Play a history/geography board game, app, or computer game
  • Put together a map puzzle
  • Add people and events studied from week to timeline (anything we study or discuss in any subject — music, art, science, literature)
  • Ask kids about people or events they want to learn about and add the topic to a “History interest” list
  • When reading a historical topic, mark a map to indicate the relevant countries, cities and major landmarks
  • Collect articles from newspapers and magazines on current events and add to a scrapbook
  • Use sticky notes/arrows to track the time setting of books on a timeline
  • Historical movies and documentaries with discussion
  • Study the history of your child’s interest or passions (i.e. history of juggling, coins)
  • Map things interesting to your family
  • Make timeline cards, the scramble them and put them back together. Or use the $1 decks of Presidents, Ancient Wonders, etc. and put them in order (history) or place them on a map (geography)

Math

  • Cook a recipe
  • Read a living math book
  • Play a math game
  • Play a card or board game
  • Play a math app or computer game
  • Watch a math documentary or show and discuss
  • Chart interesting data — the weather, plant or puppy growth, conduct surveys among family and friends. Graph and discuss the data
  • Add things up at the grocery store, weigh produce/bulk foods, learn to check price per unit
  • Use math with a hobby or project. Design something (bird house? quilt?) Plan materials needed, including amounts. Go to store or check online for prices. Figure out totals based on prices and amount needed. Make it!
  • Play store or start a store or business. Decide what to sell and then buy the products. Then figure out how to market, display, and what the mark up should be. Once items are sold figure out if enough money is made and decide what items to continue to sell.
  • Jump on trampoline, or in the house or with jump rope, doing times tables. Toss bean bags and you need to say the next number when it is thrown to you. You can do this with skip counting too.
  • Practice practical estimation and measuring. Measure a large piece of furniture (couch, table) and then figure out how to get it out of the house. Estimate an object’s size first, and then measure it afterwards, to see how accurate the estimate is. Estimate paint needed for a project or dirt needed to fill a flower bed or pots.
  • Compare objects – at first easier ones, then harder ones (such as containers with different shapes)

I am not quite sure yet how I am going to use these exactly. The thought right now is to put them in checklist form, print them, and put them in my learning notebook. If I leave it out on the counter and check things off with a dry-erase marker, I can keep track at a glance of things we are doing on a regular basis and get ideas for other things we can do. That is a start anyway.

So, my questions for you — do you have any ideas to add to the lists? How would you use them in your home?

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Pam Barnhill

Pam is the author of The Your Morning Basket Guide and Plan Your Year: Homeschool Planning for Purpose and Peace. She also is the host of three popular  podcasts -- The Homeschool Snapshots Podcast, Your Morning Basket, and The Homeschool Solutions Show. She lives in the Deep South with her husband and three kids, where she is the go-to lady for great curriculum recommendations or a just a pep talk on a rough day.
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