In the wee small hours…before crashing into bed (probably literally at this stage) I’m reminded that I need to share more of what we actually do with home education if this blog and my website link are to be in anyway useful.
Well their dad was a blacksmith when she was born!
Oh wow… that foil covered shield looks shiney!
Battle time… the only time they fight!
- Monday Morning Meetings… we gather and go over what each of my munchkins want to do with their week academically, socially, inside, outside… what ever really. Then I raise the topics of what I feel would be good to cover and we discuss all of what we’ve raised. From this we write up a plan of things I need to do, they need to do, places we need to go, things we need to buy etc. Usually we come up with other things during the week but I have a written record of the conversation so I can monitor what is going on during the week, make comments, suggestions, give reminders etc. This process works best for us and stops us falling into the common unschooling trap of everyone going off to do their own thing, nothing gets done, gaps in sequential learning develop and well… we genuinely miss each other! It may seem strange, but when we’re off doing our own thing we may not see each other all day! Now that both of my children are capable of independent research they get heavily invested into what they are doing. Another aspect is that by returning and renewing our plan for the week on a daily basis we open opportunities to help each other out and also to redefine what we really want to do. Things can change and still be part of the plan that way.
- We ‘work’ for 3 hours every morning. Nothing is begun until we’ve all had breakfast and then we all ‘work’. That is concentrated, building neural pathway type of ‘work’. It can be reading, writing, researching, documentary, gardening, cleaning what ever, as long as we are exercising our intention to grow, create, improve our experience of life etc. Mindlessly playing computer games or watching rubbish tv is obviously not an option. Mind you, it’s never been an issue as Montessori really does make the distinction between ‘real’ and ‘pretend’ so clear in the early years that ‘work’ is really ‘play that is real’ and then ‘play time’ is what ever you want to do.
- We have group time, alone time, one on one and gentle guidance. I guide them, they guide me, we work as a unit. Whether it’s visiting an authentic Greek restaurant and learning about certain customs from the owner, visiting a park and finding that the school children are on holidays and two boys have decided to ‘re-educate’ my son on the realities of his life… how he HAS no friends and that no, he’s not really friends with his sister… to meeting yet more new neighbours next door (there’s been so many since we moved here) we support each other. We decided to learn more about Greece when we got home and to go out to more ethnic restaurants. My son persisted until he found a child who wasn’t so demonstrative to play with (his mum and I exchanged numbers so there’s another friend to the list… have to text to organise another playdate for next week), I helped him to realise that not everyone will understand that home education actually gives you MORE time to make friends, that not everyone will know he has friends, not every school child hates school and his sister told him to call out to her next time and she will help him to talk with any other person who doesn’t listen to his words. Our new neighbours brought over mini-cupcakes which did change my son’s mind that they were pushy Christians who didn’t know that parents can like their children (our first contact was a leaflet with a “If you get sick of your kids you can bring them here. We get the kids to play games while they learn about Jesus so it’s really fun”). It’s ok to not agree on everything with everybody. As a unit we work well to support each other.
- We have social outings…. just about everyday….. in all sorts of places…..with all sorts of people. Since my last post we’ve interacted with approximately 70 people. We’ve house sat for a family of 7, visited family, friends, had playdates, park time, my two sat with three of their friends and watched the Muppet Movie together while us three adults sat behind (equally as gleeful, I even cried! Oh and I nearly spat water all over their heads when the guy who was Walter’s ‘human self’ came on), we’ve gone to several shopping centres, had ice chocolates at cafes, tried new foods and all of us have interacted with sales people to make our own purchases. We’ve also sat side by side skyping with friends overseas, playing Sims3 and Minecraft and watched the youtube videos that both children have been making and posting to their individual channels. We learn together, play together and grow together – as a family, but also as friends. My daughter has been Skyping with two friends while playing Minecraft AND making Youtubes while playing. She has also been asked to help out with servers and moderating behaviour… she even managed to video someone griefing. He denied he ever did and she showed him the footage she had… he backed down and admitted it. THAT’S confidence! Wonderful stuff, so proud of her and she’s 10.
After the Muppets…. manannama
- I pay attention to my children enough that I know about what I just wrote about griefing!
- Our ‘year levels’ according to what the BOS recommends are a bit erratic. We’re covering year 11 physics as it is introducing information that my daughter is interested in, at the level she prefers. We’ve found there is a lot of ‘having to re-learn stuff’ if we go the long way around and do all the workbooks in order to how they have them in schools. For instance, the first section is on waves. In the K-6 curriculum you cover just the basics, some experiments and then on to the next topic. There are more things to learn but it’s introduced ‘just enough’ to give the basic idea in general. Ok, nothing really wrong with that, but it just doesn’t work for us. She wants to know it all BECAUSE when you go back over it later she ‘thinks’ she knows it all, discovers that she doesn’t, then feels somehow lied to or duped and insists that NEXT TIME we cover the subject ‘properly’. The BOS method is necessary in order for children to attend schools for 13 years and to learn in a linear fashion and for a year 4 teacher, for instance, to know what he/she will be teaching in advanced. That means that the year 3 teacher must do their job and get everyone in their class up to the point that they can neatly pass them to the next teacher without drama. We just don’t have those types of restrictions. “What year is she in? What would she be in if she were at school?” are just not questions that relate well as school is a system and home education is not a system… nothing systematic about it for us… we don’t ‘homeschool’ or ‘school at home’. We are ‘non-school based’ which translates as… ‘home’ learning. Our base is home…. but most people are based at ‘home’ lol. In truth we are Lifelong learners Living and Learning from… Life! The world is our ‘classroom’, everyone and everything we do is teaching us something and our code of ethics and principles are based on being responsible, polite, non-judgemental people who try to use their words impeccably, try not to make assumptions, to not take things personally (had a great lesson last week in the park on that – so grateful for those school boys and the chance to turn that into a learning opportunity) and to do our best, knowing our best is always changing.
That’s our year so far in a nutshell! We’ve been back into it for two weeks now, but it’s an old groove we’ve had for six years now and we’re swimming. It’s very peaceful, exciting, comfy… like a big warm blanket. Knowing we’re happy… making memories (Muppet movie, having ice-creams on the beach at night, listening to my daughter compose her own pieces on the piano every day, reading books with my son each night). On the days we have playdates they go off and I don’t see them for hours on end… they get their own food, never fight with each other or anyone else, they never nag me or beg for junk food or junk ‘stuff’. We giggle a lot, hug a lot, in general ‘enJOY’ each other A LOT!
Wonderful time in our lives. We truly are blissfully happy!