Welcome to readers from Saudi Arabia! Please stay awhile and let us know how you’re feelin’!
I’ve decided that I feel like I’m doing too much talking without having the time to do enough listening. I don’t feel like I can have anything interesting to say if I don’t get a chance to read, books and blogs, and digest – in other words listen to other voices. So instead of posting every day I will commit to posting one, well-thought about piece a week and then post in between times if I think I have anything of value to say. Hopefully there’s 30 days worth of reasonably intelligent comment to be going on with for new readers and my loyal, older readers can enjoy a different, longer-stewed, better spelled view! 🙂
Should homeschoolers have weekends off, even holidays, especially those of us who are on such a relaxed schedule? The weekends ‘schedule’ is deeply ingrained in us, given Edward was recently at school and Dad works away from home 5 days a week (at least). On Friday and Saturdays, we like to get up even more lazily than we do during the week because at the weekend all four of us can snuggle together and chat and giggle and cuddle. Daddy’s home! Yeah! It’s nice to spend time with Dad who doesn’t, thus far, really want to ‘teach’. But is this OK?
We think time with him is more important than anything and that means dropping everything; homeschooling, play dates and extra-curricular activities (although I should call them ‘extra-home’ activities since we don’t have a ‘curricular’ anymore)! The only things we will do are ‘special events’ like the recent Bahrain ‘Spring of Culture’ performances which we chose for the kids and I to go to with friends rather than with Dad. Weekends with Dad feel very different from the weekday and even though the weekdays feel a lot more like the weekends than they used to when Edward was at school, the last few weekends, since we started homeschooling, are still very definitely ‘weekendy’ in feeling. However, I know lots of homeschoolers who don’t ‘do’ weekends or, indeed, holidays. They do their workbooks, at least a bit, all the time! Yes, for sure, learning never stops. At weekends, we never stop talking about the world around us. We even took the chess board to the café when we went for breakfast yesterday and Edward and his Dad played a bit, although the game was pretty loosely played because there was a nice boy Edward’s age at the next door table who was of course far more fun to play with!
On holiday, I want to visit museums, cultural and historical sites, because they’re really interesting, not just because they’re edifying. But more than anything, I want us to soak up the atmosphere of the place, to try and engage people we meet in conversation, to let the children play with kids they might meet in a local park. You can’t get a real feel for a place if you only know it after 2pm, when ‘school’ or the museum visit (most likely being visited by fellow foreigners) is done! It happens when you go for breakfast around the corner and try to order croissant and hot chocolate in broken French and drink it out of bowls, it happens when you let your hubbie have a lie in and you take the kids to the playground across the road at 9am and meet other parents doing the same thing. If you can’t converse, because you’re a hopeless monoglot like me, you can smile in mutual understanding and the children can play together without a linguistic care in the world.
I want us to have enough time to wander around a place for three weeks, to feel like we really live there; that we’re Amsterdammers or Parisians or Barcelonians. I think this is a great experience for the kids, one that might really stick with them, one that they might really remember, not because of the all the information they gleaned but because of the sights, sounds, smells and happy smiling faces they met. And hopefully, when we get home, they’ll miss all those things and want to know more so that we can get some DVDs, look at some books, perhaps Edward might even want to email some new friends with his recently acquired typing skills!
What do you do? Are you are homeschooler who ‘does’ weekends and holidays? If not, why not? I’d love to know.
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