I’ve been wracking my brain how to do it – how to get back to something that looks a bit like formal or formal-ish learning after a long holiday away. The weather is terribly hot. We’re stuck inside the house day and night. It’s a good time to get books out or something. But since I don’t subscribe to any kind of curriculum I’m not sure where to start. There doesn’t seem any point continuing with any kind of history of art reading now that we aren’t going to see any real pictures any more. Although I might change my mind if we get into any of the many DVDs I bought. I did try one today but it was a bit ‘dry’ and very much intended for adults. But we’ll see.
I thought a recent, if thankfully short-lived, crisis would present a good science lesson. We’ve just suffered a 24 hour power outage with outdoor temperatures hovering around 50 degrees Celsius and such high humidity it looks like it’s raining on some of the windows (when the a/c was working). It was awful. Hubbie and I flopped about dejectedly, only wanting (but being unable) to sleep, what with kids to look after and the heat. The kids were amazing. They just kept playing; scooting around the house, their little cheeks getting pinker and pinker and their hair sweatier and sweatier. We couldn’t slow them down, instead we resorted to pleading with them to strip off at least and drink water. We felt hot just looking at them! We didn’t have running water because it’s pumped so we couldn’t run about in a hose to cool down although having said that, the ‘cold’ water is incredibly hot anyway! Hubbie and I were not in the best of moods. I’m afraid the kids modeled to us how to behave in a crisis, not the other way around! And I told them this! When we eventually got the a/c back the next day, just before bedtime, I made it clear how proud I was with them. They looked a bit bemused because of course part of the reason they were so well behaved was because they were so much less bothered about the whole thing than us; they obviously felt less uncomfortable, partly from being able to distract themselves so easily and they were free from counting the financial loss of spoilt food and free from the aggravation of having to deal with the hopeless utility company. But I still wanted to congratulate them.
Always looking for the learning angle, today I asked Hubbie to discuss electricity transmission with Edward (I looked forward to learning something too). This was the science lesson I hoped might come out of this little crisis. I pointed out that this is what unschooling looks like; trying to find learning opportunities in the every day, in what’s around us. But between Hubbie not being particularly interested in teaching anything and Edward not being particularly interested in learning anything that isn’t self-directed, especially from his father who is Mr. Rough and Tumble not Mr. Educator, it hasn’t happened. Groan.
But the ‘learning from every day things’ got me thinking, as I tried, for once, to plan our meals for the upcoming week. The kids have got too used to restaurant/quick and easy food on holiday. They are turning their noses up at scrambled eggs for supper and are asking for croissants for breakfast. I decided to try and cook from scratch for every meal this week. I absolutely hate cooking so this is not an easy feat for me and the kids are hard to please which means cooking isn’t very rewarding for me (and I’m still feeling sore about losing a whole organic roast chicken with all the vegetable trimmings in the midst of the blackout. Roasts are delicious but lots of work). But then I had a brainwave! Edward has been asking to cook meals by himself for a few weeks now. This will be our learning this week – to cook – and all the Maths this involves! Yeah! And hopefully, cooking the meals will make them tastier for him (that’s what I always read). And since Petra won’t want to be left out I’m sure, hopefully she’ll eat it more readily too!
So, a few birds killed with one stone – I will more likely rise to the cooking-from-scratch challenge if by doing so I’m simultaneously completing my educational responsibilities for the week. And if the kids eat what we’ve made, then they’ll be eating healthily and learning to eat homemade food again. Great! I’m very excited by this idea. I’ll let you know how it goes in a week! It will be interesting to see how much Maths is actually involved. I read, again, that there’s lots but I’m a bit dubious. We have a lot of playdates organized this week, to remind us all of the benefits of Bahrain, friends, so I hope we can make enough time for the cooking and not resort to pasta when we come home late. So, cooking skills and maths is this week’s unschooling ‘back to school’ curriculum. How’s that for an oxymoron!
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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!
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