Children are amazing...and creative...and inspiring. I can only speak from my experience with my own children, but on any typical day at any given moment, they are ready to learn. Whether I am actively engaging them in some kind of learning activity or not doesn't matter. Even when I give them activities, they take them to new levels. It makes a home schooling mom happy to see this!!!
Example 1: We were outside playing this week (enjoying the BEAUTIFUL weather before our apparent "winter blast" is upon us), and I was taking pictures of the clouds. J asked me if we were going to have to go inside because of rain, and I said, "Oh, those aren't rain clouds, Bud." He replied, "Well, can we learn about clouds sometime, Mom?" Absolutely, sweet son of mine...I'll put it on the calendar for next week. (I have some studying to do first! :) )
Example 2 (my favorite): I gave J some M&Ms in one of his work boxes this week to use for a counting/number recognition exercise. After he laid out his M&Ms (and before he did his activity), he sorted his candy into different color groups and told me which one had the most, which had the least, and (of course) which group was therefore the "winner." (Everything is a competition in this little boy's eyes!)
Example 3: We went to the library today and came home with a ridiculous amount of books (of course.) J was sitting on the couch with one of the chapter books he had checked out, and he was flipping through each page so slowly and carefully (and silently! ha) He finally got through the last page, said quietly, "The end," closed the book, and looked up at me. "Mom, you really need to teach me how to read!" (Trust me, we're working on it! :) )
There are so many more examples, but the most encouraging thing to me is the fact that even when I feel like I am overwhelmed with dealing with the younger kids, the housework, etc. etc., my children are still learning. If we "skip school" one day, their brains are still being fed. Kids truly are little sponges. I love learning about each of my sons' interests. I love nurturing those interests (and helping them explore those interests) and wondering if they will end up using them in some way in their adult lives. I am BLESSED to be a home schooling mom...I wouldn't have it any other way :)