Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Bloggers Group Blog Hop: Stealth Schooling


I found Sprite  making preparations for Sprite’s Site’s participation in the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Bloggers Group Blog Hop on the topic of Stealth Schooling.

“Retweet wants to come with us” Sprite said “She is having problems with getting Tweetil to learn the things she wants him to learn. She thought she might be able to get some NEST ED tips.”

You may remember that the Twitter Bird Tweet family had decided not to send their tweetlets to FLOCK Ed but to continue with NEST Ed. If this is your first visit to Sprite’s Site you can read the stories about the Tweet family here

“Can we go now?” pleaded Sprite “Do I have to hop all the way?”

Before I could reply there was a deep warning growl from Intellectual Dabrowski.
“No, you can’t go yet! The whole idea of a Blog Hop is that Jo has to write a post about the topic for people to read when they come here while we are off looking at what other people have posted on their blogs.
Jo needs to write about how she used Stealth Schooling when she was home schooling her children. I hope she can remember – it was a long time ago.”


I do remember our home schooling days well and I do remember some of the stealth methods I used and also the learning by stealth which just happened naturally.

When we started home schooling I was very formal. It was almost a case of school in the home. We had timetables (the children had helped to create the timetable; so they had some feeling of ownership and control). I had chosen the text books and other materials we would use. We had spent time with an education consultant who tested and determined the levels at which we should start and also where gaps in learning existed.


But as we progressed we became less regimented and less dependant on adherence to the timetables and the text books. This allowed the children to continue working if they were engrossed in a subject and me to schedule visits to the library, museum, art gallery, plant nursery, etc. when it suited us. I realised the value of reading for enjoyment and ceased needing to see a tangible product to illustrate each piece of learning.

However, as I did want to have a record of the learning which I could produce for the Education Department if necessary, I kept records of the activities and the learning.
For example on one occasion I found Christian watching TV. Instead of turning off the TV and telling him to get back to work I sat down to watch it with him. The program was Big Cat Diary. Later he put the information he had learned into practice by playing a computer simulation of a wildlife ranger caring for a pride of lions. I wrote up my journal for the afternoon as


The formal learning schedule suited our daughter very well but not our son. He liked to direct his own learning. Teachers aim for their students to become autonomous learners so that they will be well equipped for future tertiary studies and for whatever problems and dilemmas life will deal them. However when students are truly autonomous they are not really easy to teach! But they can be guided and encouraged by some stealth schooling!


Some of the stealth learning was completely serendipitous. For example when we found a possum which had been hit by a car and took it to the local vet the possum had to be euthanized; but the baby in her pouch was given to the “Possum Lady,’ a wildlife carer, to raise. She visited us and brought some possums and gave the children a wonderful lesson which incorporated Biology, English and Art.


Some of the stealth learning grew out of interests. Christian was interested in science fiction, fantasy fiction and Arthurian legend. This led to him corresponding by email with the secretary of the Society for Creative Anachronism at a local university. Thinking she was writing to a fellow university student she invited him to a meeting and later we were invited to a medieval feast event and learned a great deal about medieval arts and crafts, games, food, clothing and armour.


We sampled a number of languages with a course called L.O.T.E. Pot Pourri which I wrote for the children. We had a group of characters from various countries who shared their languages and customs with us. We learned how to be polite and basic things like counting, colours and days of the week and learned songs and carols in several languages. Christian decided he would like to learn Russian.


Other stealth learning came about through interactions with people, groups and courses on the Internet. There were opportunities such as email chess matches, learning MOO code, Visual Basic and HTML, participating in serial fan fiction writing and creating video clips.

Maths was a subject which involved a great deal of stealth learning such as investigating the current cost of giving the gifts in the Twelve Days of Christmas song and edible maths calculations of percentages and ratios and creation of graphs using M&M chocolate buttons.
Learning about complex 3D shapes was disguised as making Christmas decorations


And I was the instigator of some of the stealth learning simply by bringing home a stack of interesting books and videos and just leaving them on the coffee table or by arranging visits to interesting places with interesting people.


“That is really sneaky!” said Sprite “Would you do that to me?”
“No, I just set up the telescope for you in the garden” I replied


P.S. Just two days ago I received a book in the mail which I would have loved to have owned when I was homeschooling. I will be reviewing ‘Did you ever wonder?’ by Jon Barell more fully later but I could see that it could provide a rich source of stealth learning and so asked a few questions about that when I wrote to thank IB for sending the book


Allie McKay, Acquisitions Editor, IB Publishing
International Baccalaureate Organization replied
“Although John partnered with the IB to publish the book, he wrote it for a much wider audience than just IB teachers and students, and readers don’t need to be familiar with the IB to find it useful. We hope that all educators, parents, and anyone who has a hand in raising children can be inspired by the ideas for maximizing kids’ curiosity.

Your potential post on stealth learning sounds really great, and you might be particularly interested in the chapters on “playing with possibilities” and “playing the games of imagination” from Did You Ever Wonder, which include some very fun examples of learning through dramatic play, sports, and stories.”

The book is available from

This was a post in the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Bloggers Group May 2013 Blog Hop: Stealth Schooling.

Blogs in the series can be read at

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

Wenda Sheard JD PhD

Building Wingspan

Cedar Life Academy

A voracious mind

Mommy bares all

Thea Sullivan

Chasing Hollyfeld

Little Stars Learning

How to work and homeschool

Buffalo Mama

Chance to Shine

Sprite’s Site


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