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.
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