Well we’re winding down to the end of another school term. While there are many people driving around, picking up their children from school or finishing up from work and plan to pick up their children from after school care, I know there will be discussions and phone calls to book children into holiday care programs, people taking time off work and grandparents having holiday time with their school aged grandchildren. Holidays are a very busy time for most people. The two weeks off for our winter break, here in Australia, will mean the roads will be filled with more cars containing more children than usual, shops will be full of people between 9am and 3pm as well as there being ‘more things to do’ at the Art Galleries and Museums etc.
Holidays are a quiet time for most Home Educating families. There is a tendency to stay away from busy places and avoid the traffic. Sport activities are usually on break too
so there is ‘less’ to do with our children. If it wasn’t so bitterly cold we would probably be going camping or at least making day trips out of town to see some sights. As it happens we’ll be continuing on with our academic type of activities and reading a lot. M is busy borrowing and reading books for the MS Read-a-thon while D is really enjoying learning to read. We’ve just visited the local library and have borrowed many books, DVD’s and CD roms that will take care of the rest of the week’s literacy requirements!
On the way home from the library we stopped in at the shops. With mince on sale D could easily see that the higher the amount per kilo the higher the final price and the less mince you could afford. He was able to choose the best pre-packaged deal and both M and D completed the shopping themselves with the self-serve checkout.
Navigating around an already busy car-park we discussed how easy it is for drivers not to see children when reversing, people smoking cigarettes in public places where children are as well as looking forward to going home and getting into our projects. This week D doesn’t have Joeys but we do have a Cubs activity of ice-sledding with a pre-made slab of ice with some rope frozen in it. Should be fun to see the children using these to slide down the grassy hill! Following that we have a sleep over in the Scouts Hall and that will mark the official end of Term 2 for us.
Term 3 will see us doing more learning from everyday experiences, introducing MORE literacy and numeracy into our daily activities for D as well as working on our projects. Most of the learning M and D do is self directed, I just provide the materials and drive them to where they need to be. We all have our ongoing projects which keep us learning and concentrating on big concepts for sustained periods of time.
My current projects are
* GTD – re-reading for about the 7th time as well as listening to pod-casts based on Getting Things Done, by David Allen
*Music – I recently took my girls to see the Newcastle Conservatorium Choir and I’m now listening to more excellent quality singing … this may turn into a project of rejoining a choir, as I was involved with a Welch choir for a while.
*Writing – I’m reading more books about writing, specifically blogging but this project is one that doesn’t have a deadline. I’m quiet happy for this to remain a behind the scenes activity as really it is Home Educating that takes up my time, energy as well and gives me a most profound and satisfying sense of joy!
Watching my children naturally using their manners while playing with children they don’t know in a park when I know that their aged peers in schools would be unlikely to say “Excuse me, are you using this play equipment? I was wondering if I could use the swing please?” gives me chills! Firstly, it must seem strange that children of that age are using their manners but also the comments I get, especially from people over 50 is really enjoyable, especially for my children. They are taken seriously, they are respected, they are listened to by adults. They are ‘part of the community’ and are seen already as contributors of our community. There is no “wait until you’re in the ‘real world’ youngen” for them! They ARE in the ‘real world’, what ever that really means and they are involving themselves on a daily basis with people of varied backgrounds, of various ages and they are doing all of this not with a script or after having undergone some advanced social curriculum but as themselves, completely void of the deliberate interference of peer-pressure, social ridicule, misaligned learning, religious or intellectual dogma and without the need to ‘perform’ to an arbitrary standard that may or may not include rewards or punishments. They are free to be themselves and they are free to learn what they want, when they want. I do organise their activities and have a routine based on how best they learn and also when they are most alert (morning 3 hour work cycle, which is based on the Montessori Method) and also I limit the amount of computer and television that they watch, giving them both free time after 2pm to either work on their computers or watch some ABC kids tv.
As well we continue to enjoy play-dates and get-togethers with other Home Educating families! I’ve very fortunate to have a large social group of other families to interact with. During the holidays I hope to finish off some emails and letters to friends who are not local as well as see some of our school friends during the weekdays when they are usually away from their parents and other friends, who either go to other schools or Home Educate, like us.