A homeschooler homeschooling her children; a nice perspective

A quick link to a homeschooling Mum who was herself homeschooled; a nice perspective. 

I think the think she most values about homeschooling is what I most value about homeschooling: TIME. As her point no. 8 (in her list of ‘Amazing Benefits of Homeschooling from a Graduate’s Perspective’) says, “Time to think deeply ~  Are you seeing a trend here?  TIME is such a huge gift that we give to our children…Homeschooling provides more flexibility and time to think deeply about things. My favorite childhood places to go and “think” were both outside. I would do my hardcore thinking while out for a jog around the block or from my perch atop the roof {yes, I had a permissive mother}. We were encouraged to ask questions {no question was off the table} and think deeply. We were also given time to process.” 

I also think ‘time’ is so vital for everybody’s bodies to work optimally, by not being rushed to eat, sleep, toilet etc… in the way it is during the schoolday – and not only rushed but scheduled. Nature does not like such things scheduled, it is not natural. Happy homeschooling!

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Schools should turn their attention to “creativity and social and emotional capacities”

Schools should turn their attention to “creativity and social and emotional capacities” said South Korea’s former Education Minister according to this article in ‘The Guardian’. Well, my ‘school’ certainly has this emphasis. I also mainly agree with the journalist, Simon Jenkins’, opinion that, “Britain needs literate and presentable young people, sensitive to culture and the world around them, skilled in health, entertainment, finance, the law and citizenship.”  I certainly like “sensitive to culture and the world around them”. I put a lot of emphasis on that too, to the detriment of formal schooling.

This article is ostensibly about the current fetishization of Maths in education. We like Maths in our homeschool. We plan even to start Latin – despite the headline of this article being “…maths is even more pointless than Latin” because we find Latin just as interesting as Maths. But I don’t think either will be the ‘making’ of my children. They are interesting because they have some relevance in the real world, are intellectually stimulating and can be fun. But we don’t do/won’t be doing either subject very seriously and certainly not for any kind of test.

If only the world could get over testing; get over the ‘industrial society’ mode of thinking about kids and their education. I really feel sorry for kids at most schools these days. They aren’t learning what they need to learn and yet it’s apparently so desperately important to learn it. Very sad.

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Young Kids Taking Online University Courses

I came across the ‘How Things Work’ University of Viriginia FREE course, offered by Coursera, when I was going online for my FREE ‘Critical Thinking’ course presently being offered by the University of Edinburgh. I was delighted to find that the ‘How Things Work’ course is also suitable for primary-aged children! So I started doing it with Edward, aged 9, and it’s going really well. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who wants to continue their own learning or to introduce their kids to physics in a fun but challenging way – a way that will make them feel really grown up! I also love the feeling of the two of us huddling in front of our laptop, learning together, trying to make a go of the little quizzes during the course – TOGETHER! It’s the 21st century version of cuddling on the sofa and reading a story to your kids! But I wouldn’t do this as a nighttime wind-down!

Edward and I started off doing the preliminary quiz which comprises 25 questions about physics in everyday life. It was a bit tough and we didn’t quite finish it. I’ll knock off the last five questions tonight. The idea is that you do the quiz before and after the course to see your improvement; clever as long as it works and we see a huge jump in our physics knowledge! Given we’ve only watched a couple of lectures and it’s all flooding back to me whilst being thoroughly entertained, I have high hopes, for us both.

I would love to hear of more courses like this, any subject, that are suitable for kids. If anyone knows of any, please do tell me!

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“Deadly conformity is killing our creativity. Let’s mess about more”

And what is the first comment under the article, from ‘TimMiddleton’, “We should give some thought to the extent that our schools are teaching young people how to pass examinations as opposed to being able to make a constructive contribution to society.” And the comments that immediately follow are also about conformity in education. We are making a nation of robots, a world of robots. I won’t let my kids be one of them. Are you?

 

 

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Kids Tell Us What Their Favourite Books Are

There’s a great programme on the best children’s channel in the UK – CBBC (which stands for Children’s BBC) for children aged about 9+ (the BBC channel for younger children is equally good and is called Cbeebies), the programme is called ‘Blue Peter’ and I used to watch it as a kid!

There are doing a ‘children’s best book’ competition and although the winners haven’t been revealed as I write this, there are well over a hundred suggestions from kids already. This is a great mine for ideas, although you’d have to research what age the books are most suitable for because it doesn’t show the commenter’s age on the web page. My kids commented with their favourites – my son, who’s 9, is ‘Liar and Spy’ by Rebecca Stead which I read after him and LOVED.  And my daughter’s favourite book, aged 5, is ‘Reindeer Girl’ by Holly Webb a fabulous chapter book we loved reading together. 

Some great ideas for kids’ books for Christmas! Happy reading!

 

 

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“Why Do You Homeschool?”…”Because I like it!”

I LOVE this suggested reply to the question many of us face at least few times a week. I wish I had thought of it all by myself!

This post gives several suggestions and is titled, “Shutting down the homeschool fight (before it even starts)” but I definitely like that one the best, “When I tell someone that we LIKE homeschooling, it immediately shuts down most potential negative responses.

Because expressing your own joy:

  • isn’t judging their choices, which can make people feel defensive.
  • isn’t an attempt to educate them, which only works if they are open to new ideas.
  • isn’t indicating that you are up for a debate, or that you want to continue that particular line of questioning.

Why do we homeschool?

Because we love it. Thank you for asking.”

Expressing your joy…it’s true. It’s such a positive way to approach a potentially fraught situation. If I find it doesn’t works well, I’ll let you know! But I would be surprised if it didn’t.

 

 

 

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How Mummies Really Feel

Following on from my last post about an unschooling friend’s bad day with her three kids, a friend of Katie’s posted this link on her FB page, unfortunately, the lovely comments are not posted on her blog page so that you could see them. This post is another lovely insight into the real world of how Mummies who peacefully parent and homeschool feel (but I think a lot of peaceful parents who’s kids go to school probably feel this sometimes too). I love her friend’s comment about her, “”In public you are the invincible 24-hour RU mom. I forget that you are susceptible to weary-of-momness.” I think RU stands for ‘radical unschooler’. I love the fact that her friend acknowledges that she’s a 24 hour mum, which is certainly how I feel. And I LOVE the expression ‘weary-of-momness‘. Weary is so onomatopoeic – the word sound so much like what it means – s..l..o..w and h..e..a…v…..y – oh, so tired. It doesn’t mean ‘had enough of the kids’ but just facing them with less positive energy than one would like. But, as with Ronnie’s family, these  “members of an unschooling family really live together” and that’s challenging as well as absolutely wonderful. Ronnie response to the down times though is this, “I am not defined by my bad moments but by my whole self, and my whole self is Ronnie Maier, dedicated unschooling mom, peaceful partner, and woman who never stops trying to do better.” I could happily insert my name in there instead and would feel very happy. Perhaps you could too. NEVER STOPS TRYING TO DO BETTER. I feel that defines me, even when that trying falls so short unfortunately and I really let myself and the kids down by shouting the hell out of them.

After feeling so low, going through life as if “swimming in molasses”, lovely phrase Ronnie, especially since I use molasses to cook breakfast pancakes almost daily, I KNOW just how intractable that would feel, she ends her post like this,

Unschooling and the relationships between family members in an RU household don’t flourish because we have found some magical way of avoiding bad moods, screwups, and sad times. No, they flourish because the philosophies we live by—my infamous RATS: Respect, Acceptance, Trust, and Support—are not just for good moods, successes, and happy times; they’re for all times. And those philosophies don’t flow only from parent to child but from child to parent and partner to partner.

We are not perfect, and I am certainly not. But we are in this together. We give each other the benefit of the doubt, a Get Out of the Doghouse Free card, or simple forgiveness as needed. And we never stop trying to do better.”

RATS. I must use that as my new mantra; say it under my breath before I feel like raising my voice any number of octaves. Rats…rats…rats…rats…NEVER STOP TRYING! 

 

 

 

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A lovely post from a new unschooling friend in England

This is a lovely post about a day we shared with this family and some others yesterday in the park. Since we met up in the morning, I guess all the families could be loosely termed ‘unschooling families’ if a term had to be used because otherwise they’d be too busy doing ‘school at home’ to come.

The lovely blogger, Katie, was playing with the boys/maybe some of the girls and it was my son, Edward, who came up with the “…best line of the game “Even civilized countries don’t torture prisoners.”” I’m a proud Mum! I think she was grateful too since she was the prisoner at the time I think! When I read the post this morning, I did have to explain to Edward the use of the word ‘even’ and that perhaps “even UNcivilized countries don’t torture prisoners” might have more accurately expressed his thought. He was too busy in the middle of an imaginary game, with his sister (yeah! Brother and sister playing amicably in our house is something not to be messed with!) that I didn’t want to spoil the moment with further debate.

I wanted to share Katie’s post because it so much reflects what so many ‘peaceful parenting’ parents feel, even the ones that send their kids to school. We are so hard on ourselves. We are so disappointed when we feel we ‘fail’ for even half an hour a day. She had lots of lovely, supportive comments on FB though so I was very pleased to see that. One of them included a link to another post which I will share separately. Thank you for sharing, Katie and thanks to all Mums who are trying to parent peacefully. I try hard every day. I will try harder. That’s all I can say.

 

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Why Study Math?

homeschoolingpenny:

I really liked this perspective about Maths from Charlotte Mason via Nebby and her blog. I like ‘teaching’ Maths to my kids but mainly because through them I have come to enjoy its wonder – so unlike the way I was taught. I’m sure, however, from time to time, I do wander away from its wonder, so it’s good to be reminded. Thanks, Nebby!

Originally posted on Letters from Nebby:

Dear Reader,

Do you ever notice that no one asks this? We might ask why about some of the higher maths like trig and calculus but we don’t ask why study math at all like we might for art or music or even history. It’s kind of a pet peeve of mine that the STEM subjects, as they call them, (STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) are so emphasized while others are neglected. But we never ask why we study math at all. It’s always good to consider these things though and in the section for this week’sCharlotte Mason Blog Carnival, Charlotte invites us to do just that.

Charlotte is arguing, as she often does, against certain ideas prevalent in her day. The big one here seems to be that studying math with train certain faculties in the child’s mind, will cause them to exist even…

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If my child wrote this, I’d be very proud!

If my child wrote this, I’d be very proud! It’s risky but demonstrates fabulous ‘out of the box’ thinking. It’s imaginative, quirky and probably could never have been thought up by anyone else. The author is a real individual and I love the way it’s written. 

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