How to get back to homeschooling after a holiday? Month 6 of Learning at Home


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!

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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4 Responses to How to get back to homeschooling after a holiday? Month 6 of Learning at Home

  1. Dont you just love it when all the puzzle pieces fit together so nicely and give you a door to open. All the mishap with the food loss, the fussy eating and the desire to learn to cook, just gave you a fabulous opportunity! I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

  2. Dottie Hines says:

    The maths in cooking are mostly measuring but if you need to adjust the number of servings it might involve addition, subtraction, multiplication or division. Another way more math can be added if converting a US recipe to metric or vice versa. It also adds in reading, following directions, and sharing. As you guys improve and get more daring you can even move into the realm of creativity and art by adjusting existing recipes or writing your own. Moving into cuisine from around the world you can add in culture and geography as well. Cooking can be a wonderful starter spot or jumping off point. My I recommend a food blog called frugal feeding, he is a Welsh guy who shares recipes and pictures of mostly healthy foods. Enjoy yourselves.

    • Hi Dottie, thanks so much for your supportive comments. I’m not enjoying cooking with my son because I just don’t enjoy cooking. Cooking with him means it has to take even longer and is even more frustrating! So it’s fallen by the wayside I’m afraid 😦 I must work on my patience and then come back to it with him!

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