These ‘School’ Days

I’ve been missing you blog!

So, where have I been? Well since adding a fourth child to our family things have been rather busy. I get the impression it’s going to be busy for a while yet! He’s a fabulous little chap. Feeds and sleeps well most of the time and doesn’t give me any trouble. He’s growing up far too fast though… which makes me a little sad.

Still homeschooling. We’ve taken a bit of a different approach this Term. Samuel was just a couple of weeks old when the school term started and for the first two or three weeks we did all our workbooks and chores, and made dinner and did washing and shopping and everything else that is required to run a household. But there was a problem. I was shattered. I found myself grouching at the kids to get their school work done, and they didn’t want to. It’s such a yucky place to be. Learning wasn’t fun for any of us. And to reference a great quote by Albert Einstien, schooling was interrupting our education.

So….we stopped. Ha! We are taking it seriously easy this term, and possibly next term as well and giving our family plenty of time to adjust to a new baby. Also we have a couple of rather urgent home projects to work on. Now we are quite unschooly, which I have a sneaky suspicion is going to remain a feature in our educational approach. (Click the link to see what I mean by unschooling – scroll to the bottom)

How do our days look now? A late start to the day generally, somewhere between 7:30 and 8:30 depending on how much sleep I’ve had. The kids are usually up before me, and D gets them started on breakfast. After breakfast the kids are supposed to help with dishwasher and clearing the table, followed by getting dressed and making beds etc. This is a work in progress and some days one or two of them scarper off to the garage to watch cartoons or play computer.

From then on we just follow our interests or go to whatever activities we have on that day. The kids are spending more time I the computer / dvd’s than I’d like but I’m trying not to stress about it and know that gradually we can change that. Apart from that, Ryan who just turned 3 helps with dinner nearly every day. I don’t really enjoy cooking with children, but he loves to help and he’s learning. Emma (7) reads and reads and reads. At bedtime we have to make her turn off the light. Sometimes as late as 9:30 or 10pm. Benjamin (5) has also taught himself to read this term. I spent $23 on a phonics book for him and he got bored after about 5 pages but is reading well anyway. He’s got an inbuilt confidence because he’s seen Emma learn to read. I love it that because he’s not at school, he doesn’t know that sometimes children find it hard to learn to read. He’s just gotten on with it.

We go to the library when we feel like it. Each week the kids go to swimming lessons, and have a big play at the pools. Emma still does ballet, and we go to a sports group too arranged by the home school network.  We are starting to make some new friends too and next week after sports, the kids are going to get to ride a horse owned by one of the other families there.  We bake sometimes and try home science experiments. Emma wanted to grow stalactites and stalagmites using baking powder in solution and string. She got the idea from a book she loves called 101 Science Experiments for Kids. All suitable to be done easily at home.  It’s taking up too much space on my kitchen bench but it was so fun to try. From time to time we will write a letter or card to someone. Emma helps make the shopping list.

Today we visited a friend who held a ‘Tonga Day’ at her home. Other home school families joined in…I think there were 17 children ranging in age from 9 weeks (my bubba) to about 7 or 8. A Tongan friend of my friend dressed the mums and kids up in traditional wear. We made Tongan lunch together and made posters of the Tongan flag. We spotted Tonga on the world map and looked at photographs. While we worked on lunch the kids milled around and came and went, but our Tongan friend told us stories about her family, and Tongan culture. We saw her open a coconut (with a knife…which beats my ‘drill a hole, drain the milk and hurl coconut at concrete’ approach), and grate it. This was later squeezed by hand in to a watermelon and pineapple drink. The kids all got to chew on some sugar cane. We watched her prepare all the food, which we later ate from banana leaves together. We tried taro, cassava, green bananas, and chop suey. After lunch she danced and sang for us. What a fantastic day.

And occasionally we pull out some workbooks, and maths.

There’s a whole lot more we could be doing, but at the moment its more important we get some simple things done. The first is a happy home, peaceful and joyful and in order. Then some good healthy food everyday. A home clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy. Some good books, some busy bodies, some stimulating conversation. Ideas, friends, and fun. And here another quote from Einstein:

“It is, in fact nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wreck and ruin without fail.  It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty”

~ Albert Einstein
US (German-born) physicist (1879 – 1955)

Before I go, some links that I’ve enjoyed lately, along these home schooling lines:

I could really relate to  this article: Escaping the Homeschool Matrix – Steve Walden

Loving this blog: Simple Homeschool


5 thoughts on “These ‘School’ Days

  1. awesome post – I’ve missed your blogging too Erin! You sound as though you have great perspective on what’s important at the moment – good on you – enjoy your kids!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s