How do you Know Your Kids are Learning?

how do you know your kids are learning

At the kitchen sink, elbow deep in soapy water, I felt a light tap on the top of my head.

Was that water dripping from the can light over my kitchen sink?!

This can’t be good.

I wonder what the kids are up to? 

I took the stairs two at a time.

At the top of the landing outside of the kids’ bathroom, I heard muffled squeals of delight. Hot steamy clouds hit me as I opened the bathroom door. On full blast, the shower pummeled two fully dressed kids sitting on a bath towel submerged in the tub.  With. water.  overflowing. everywhere.

“We’re in the rainforest!” shouted my daughter happily.

“Yeah! We’re floating on a raft down the Amazon River!” my son yelled, barely audible over the pounding of the shower.

Like any self-respecting mom, I was winding up to let ‘em have it for making such a mess.

That is when the lightning bolt hit.  MY KIDS WERE ACTUALLY LEARNING!  And this “dramatization” was proof!

How do you know your kids are learning?

Charlotte Mason’s approach to learning using living books, instead of textbooks, really works. If you want to know how to bring your kids’ homeschool education to life, this is part of how to do it:  start teaching using real books instead of textbooks.

Here’s what led up to the shower adventure:

  • We read a few fascinating books about the rainforest.
  • They orally narrated over what they’d read.
  • They’d completed copy work about the rainforest.
  • They drew pictures of the rainforest (another form of narration).

And now they were dramatizing a scene in a story they were creating, all on their own.

Our recent readings about the rainforest had ignited their imaginations!

Isn’t that what Charlotte Mason homeschooling is all about?  Presenting children with a “feast of ideas” and letting them ‘form their own relationships’ with books, instead of spoon-feeding them “what they’re supposed to be learning”?

I certainly had not suggested that they soak the bathroom rug and do who knows what to the ceiling and light fixture downstairs.  :-0

Miss Mason’s thoughts:

The children should have the joy of living in far lands, in other persons, in other times––a delightful double existence; and this joy they will find, for the most part, in their story books. Their lessons, too, history and geography, should cultivate their conceptive powers. If the child does not live in the times of his history lesson, be not at home in the climes his geography book describes, why, these lessons will fail of their purpose.           ~Charlotte Mason Vol. I, Part IV of Home Education, p. 153

My kids weren’t playing in the shower, they were in the South American jungle!


I knew then that our recent switch to the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling was the right choice for us. Despite the punishment the house endured, I knew we had made the right decision. And we never looked back. 🙂

So…. are your kids learning?   How do you know?

If your answer is “I don’t know if they’re really learning,” you might take a hard look at your curriculum.  Is it boring, or is it inspiring?  Are you using dry, dusty, textbooks? Or excellent children’s books to teach?








  1. Hi Candice! I know what you mean! At the time this happened they were having so much fun I couldn’t bear to put a damper on it. Really, as homeschool moms we WANT our kids to be engaged with their learning, right? 🙂

  2. What a beautiful mess!!! I love those moments where most think, ” omg, look at this mess!!”, but God gives me grace to see how beautiful a mess it is and to know my children are enjoying themselves….

  3. The Charlotte Mason approach not only allows your children to learn in a relevant and interesting way, but it also makes for some precious homeschool memories. Thanks for sharing, Dana! It sparked some memories from our own homeschool.

  4. Hi Lindsey! Isn’t it amazing how much your son has learned on his own about something he is passionate about? I love that homeschooling allows children to develop and pursue their own interests! Good for you for allowing him time for that!

  5. My son loves metal detecting-It’s not what I wrote in my lesson plans for this year, but he has researched and read about this hobby all year long. He has learned so much history, geography, science, and done so much reading and writing, all on his own, on the subject. He can tell me so much about it. Not once has it been in my “lesson plans,” and yet he is practically an expert!

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