Homeschooling Adventures in the Netherlands, Part 4 – Month 5 of Learning at Home

When Mum’s back is turned, holiday junk food appears, to the kids’ delight! At least it’s not always eaten!

At Hubbie’s request, we’ve spent the last couple of days chilling. I was itching to visit the Science Museum, called ‘NEMO’, in Amsterdam today but I recognized his need to stay grounded and we had lovely family time instead. As he says, when we chill together, he sees the kids properly. When we go out, it’s constant ‘Where are they?’ anxiety as they rush hither and thither. We’re glorified security guards really, whilst they explore the world. Of course, this is an important parenting job but it’s at least as important, and very enjoyable, to spend time really connecting as a family as well.

Since we don’t want to partake in much of the manufactured entertainment provided here, time is spent all together in the tiny cottage. It’s going very well. The kids play happily with their toys or they make up imaginary stories or games. I’m finding they entertain themselves more easily here than at home, with far fewer toys. I wonder if the fact we are more relaxed means they are too – they’re just happy to spend so much time with us, especially their Dad, even if sometimes it’s simply close to us whilst we each do our own thing. They really come up with some amazing ways to entertain themselves. We got Petra a new pair of Crocs in Amsterdam (for a fraction of the cost of Bahrain) and Petra ‘introduced’ them to all our other shoes when we got home and has continued to have them get to know each other the last couple of days! She’s also still loving feeding the ducks at least a loaf of bread a day! Edward continues to plan the movie he thinks he’s really going to make, called ‘Sword’ and the spy club he really thinks he’s going to run with his friends when we get home.

Petra in ducky heaven!

On occasions, we’ve left the cottage. Hubbie and Edward had a go at Archery yesterday. It was great fun. Because the lesson was fully booked, they didn’t get to shoot as many arrows as they would have done in quieter seasons, but the instructor did a good job of actually teaching everyone some genuine techniques and safety procedures. I was very impressed. The instructor was only about 17 and so articulate, organized and self-assured. I thought, ‘I hope my kids turn out like that’.

Archer Edward!

The other education Edward has been having is musical. Actually, more than that, it’s learning more about his parents’ days, the ‘old days’ as Edward rather depressingly calls them! Hubbie mentioned the fact that it’s the Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary. Edward asked who or what they were. So we looked up some of their tunes on ‘You Tube’. Then we took a trip down memory lane and we watched some live concert clips, some music videos for Sting and The Police, Phil Collins, Tina Turner and David Bowie, the Eurythmics, Adam and the Ants, Whitney Houston, Sinead O’Connor. I could have gone on and on. Of all the music we played, he loved ‘Every Breath You Take’ by The Police the most.  Good taste! Some of the lyrics and stuff in the music videos and concerts could take a bit of explaining. But he wasn’t much interested in anything other than the music really. But I do see why other families might play safe by only exposing their kids to Christian music or something. But these tunes are so good, the voices incredible and varied and he even had a good introduction to the way orchestras sometime play pop by watching a Sting concert in Berlin. It was great to see strings, the piano even a harp playing very different music to what you might expect.

We continue to enjoy the rain; we even found a way to have our BBQ lunch despite it! Let’s hope tomorrow brings better weather since we intend to venture out again, destination TBC!

BBQ in the rain!

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IF YOU’RE NEW TO HOMESCHOOLINGMIDDLEEAST, welcome! I highly recommend that you start reading from ‘Day 1’. The fastest way to access this is to look for ‘Archives’ on the right hand side of the home page, click on ‘February 2012’ and scroll down to the bottom of the page that opens. If you want a quick first visit, you could type a term e.g. ‘socialization’ or ‘university’, into the ‘Search’ box or of course you could just read my latest posts without doing anything!

Why I recommend starting at Day 1 is because this is an adventure into homeschooling that is not yet 3 months old and the journey has been a rollercoaster  – philosophically and emotionally, catalogued daily for the first couple of months. For you to get the full intellectual and dramatic impact, it’s best to start at the beginning. You might be contemplating home educating and wonder what those early nail-biting days feel like or you might enjoy reading somebody else’s take on an experience you share with me, or you might be more generally interested in my thoughts and feelings on education and parenting. Whatever the reason you’re reading, I’m really humbled that you’re taking your valuable time to do so and I really hope I can be some kind of hope or inspiration for you. Thank you! 


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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