Day 18 of Homeschooling in the Middle East – What does our day look like? I’m not sure yet!

Although I believe unschooling is the right way to educate my kids at home, I don’t know quite how this looks like with a 7 year old. I’m too afraid of educational neglect! I don’t know enough about it, I don’t personally know anyone who does it and I don’t even have anyone to talk to over the net. I have no support and I have to admit, at this point, it’s too scary. I am also unsure about having a break at this point. I think it’s the right thing to do but I’m also afraid Edward will forget what he did glean from school and in some respects, this seems a shame. And I’d rather take a complete break when we get a chance to travel in the summer for a month or so. Although I’m not sure this would show me how he learns or what things he might show interest in when we’re at home.

However, the good news is that since Edward is comparing what we’re doing to school, even though he did do a worksheet today, he thinks it’s 100 times better. He even let me video him doing a ‘review’ of homeschooling, as he called it. He couldn’t have been more enthusiastic! He loves using the fun Maths websites that the school recommended, and we did a tiny bit of science as well. He thought it was great today when we went on to the internet to look at something I was trying to describe. I’ve mentioned doing this before. When I was reading ‘The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe’ we came across the part when the children stay in the Beavers’ dam. I talked a bit about how beavers make dams and then went onto YouTube to show a real one. There was a 10 minute clip from an ‘Animal Planet’ documentary that explained the building process beautifully and showed the animals in action. I was fascinated. I love what I’m learning alongside my kids!

I’m trying to capitalize on the ‘Spring of Culture’ month of music and performance and so looked up a lesson on playing spoons. It seems that we don’t have the right spoons though! But it was great fun trying! And the kids regularly listen to clips of music on YouTube including from the Narnia movies (without any moving images) and Dan Zanes again today. And we sing our heads off in the car to Bob Marley and Dan Zanes CDs but I think we’re really suffering from not being able to play any instruments in the family. My ability to play the piano is a distant memory although the memory of the dreaded lessons is fresher in my mind and serves as a good reminder about how music should be taught – not in the slightest bit coercively! I would love to buy four ukuleles and learn and then play as a family!

I’ve read about 20 stories today, literally. Petra adores being read to and Edward often listens in, whilst bragging about how easy some of the books are for him to read himself. Fortunately, Petra seems pretty impervious to this bragging. She seems to have a robust ego which is great. She played a lot with the wooden train set and Edward’s cars today, so despite looking like a very girly girl, her interests deviate outside her dolls house and baby toys on most days.

I found the day went well after suggesting both kids to go on the trampoline in the sun for 5 minutes almost first thing this morning. Edward ended up jumping for at least 15 minutes which showed me he really needed it. He has SO much more energy now that he’s left school. But he needs to have it channeled in a fun way otherwise he runs circles around the house, literally. This doesn’t seem to bother him in the least, but it bothers me! But I have noticed that every time I ask him to do some sort of very focused task, like his typing drills on the computer or a worksheet, he always complies very happily and manages to focus without difficulty, so his extra energy isn’t too much of a problem for him at least.

So, the wrestling with what exactly to do with our days continues. I have given up my much treasured morning walk and hope to shift it to the afternoon but of course it can so easily be knocked out of the schedule altogether by play dates and other things, which is very frustrating. But the morning hours are not just the best exercise hours, they are also the best learning hours (I don’t like to say teaching hours because that sounds too autocratic). If I go crazy and start running rings around the house, then I’ll have to re-evaluate but at the moment, an hour’s walk in the morning didn’t fit well with what we were doing which is after all, trying not to cram things into a few hours, but stretch things out more comfortably. We’ll see how it goes.

Please always feel free to post comments on any of the days you read, however old they are. Your views are valuable and it’s always good to have debate. If you’re busy but enjoyed that day’s blog, please do press the ‘Like’ button at the end of the post. It would be much appreciated as it helps encourage more people to read homeschoolinginthemiddleeast! Any comments about Maths teaching is especially appreciated and suggestions about resources warmly welcome!


About homeschoolingpenny

Hi and welcome! My name is Penny and I used to live in Bahrain but In November 2012 moved to Dubai and now we live in Granada, Spain! If you want to contact me my email is I recommend you start my blog on 'Day 1' but please enjoy whatever you dip into. 23 February 2012 marked the first day of no more school FOREVER for my two kids. Edward, who is nearly 10 had attended a variety of schools since he was very little. Petra, who is now 6, has never gone to school. On this date we decided Edward was never going back to school and Petra never would go to school. We hope to successfully homeschool from this day forward, although we would consider an alternative school as an option- if there was some amazing Sudbury or other really alternative school. Actually, I prefer the term 'home learning' than 'homeschool' because I don't like to think of school coming into our home. In fact, I hope to go further and guide/learn alongside, rather than teach, my kids using the 'unschooling' philosophy to instill a lifelong love of learning in them. We lived in the Middle East and now Spain all of which are very challenging places to home educate. This is an exciting journey that I used to blog about regularly, at first it was on an almost daily basis. Please join me on our travels and I hope we might be able to help each other out along the way. I certainly hope I can be a source of support and comfort and, in time, knowledge to all potential/presently participating homeschoolers/home educators/unschoolers. Good luck to us all! If you want to read about why I started home educating, why I pulled my son out of a 'very good' private school mid-term, how I felt at the very start and how my philosophy has evolved, please start from 'Day 1' of the blog. Please do post comments at the end of any days that you read. Your opinion is valuable and it's great to start up debate amongst other people commenting too, however old the post. Thank you for visiting homeschoolingmiddleeast.
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2 Responses to Day 18 of Homeschooling in the Middle East – What does our day look like? I’m not sure yet!

  1. erikmansoor says:

    For what it’s worth. 🙂

    I’m not a huge fan of “unschooling” in the most extreme sense, but I imagine there are varying degrees which work.

    While not telling you to stop unschooling, have you considered getting some sort of structured curriculum simply to use as a guide? There are also quite a few online resources which give guidance as to what a child should know and be able to master at any given age.

    Finally, there are many Independent Study Programs which function like a cross between a loos-knit private school and a support group. You might consider joining one of these if it is possible internationally.

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to give me your thoughts. It’s much appreciated. I know what the UK curriculum is, for what it’s worth. If I want to follow it then I just need to find/decide what resources to use. I know, having downloaded the ‘Rainbow Resources’ catalogue that deciding about curriculums/resources is almost as hard to decide as what philosophy to follow! It’s overwhelming. And then I have to work out how to get it here without breaking the bank on postage! I definitely don’t want an online school though. At least that’s one decision made! Best wishes!

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