Long time followers of our home-education journey will know that we are definitely a go with the flow kind of family. We surround ourselves with books and have many learning resources on hand. We are very much a learn through life experiences family rather than desk sitting and worksheets. We may write a plan outline and many lists, but we often find ourselves wandering off on tangents and following new ideas and learning experiences as we fancy (or following where a Pinterest browsing session takes us!)
Recently though, it has become clear that we may need to do things a little differently.
Although Callum and Tiegan are pretty settled and organised with their direction, the youngest two (aged 5 and 8) are craving more (or perhaps just different). They want the ‘school’ experience they believe they know about, presumably the kind of blissful experience that they have witnessed via children’s TV shows and cartoons. They want written work and a schedule. They want to know what they are going to be learning about and when, and goodness – even a school ‘lunchtime’ complete with lunch boxes, a school style story time, and an end of the day star chart! We have never ever done reward or star charts, so that’s a complete newbie to me. Today Amara even put up her hand to ask a question!!! I mean, where on earth has that come from?! I did shudder a little bit inside if I’m honest. It took Joseph almost a year to stop raising his hand to ask if he could go to the toilet after we took him out of school, it was a difficult habit to break and it used to feel quite sad.
So for the foreseeable, we will be doing more of what general society would view as ‘learning’ – albeit in a far looser way than what the girls describe. I am open to making our day into a slightly more structured routine. I am not sure at this stage if they genuinely feel they want to learn in this way, or if they just want to ‘play schools’ with mama playing teacher. Neither entertain the idea of actually attending a real life school, so it isn’t a way of fulfilling that want. But I do wonder if they believe sitting at a desk with a pen in hand whilst someone formally ‘teaches’ is the only way of learning. Maybe they feel like that’s the norm and they want a slice of it. I admit to guessing as I really don’t know their current reasoning. But I do know that I will be ensuring that learning is still fun for them, in whatever form that takes. There will be an abundance of the art and craft activities they love, plenty of flexibility to go with the flow when needed, lots of nature activities and outside time, and definitely no hands up to ask a question! It’s never really been how we do things here, although we have dabbled with such at various stages in the past. But I am intrigued to see how things progress and what the girls will think about it in reality. Both are such free spirits I really don’t know if being directed will work in the way they believe. How long it will last is questionable but that’s the beauty of home-ed isn’t it? We can adapt, we can change to suit needs and attempt new methods at a drop of a hat if necessary.
Today the girls have sat transfixed in their newly revamped learning space, which both are referring to as their school and classroom and being very serious when doing so. We have put up new posters on the wall, including this fabulous (huge) world map that I bought from The Works.
We started on preparing the basics for the lapbooks we will be working on over the coming weeks. The lapbooking idea has certainly captured the interest of Taisia and Amara. I think they will enjoy both the learning experience and the creative side of making them. We also looked at numbers, counting, sequences and our 100 square poster, pointing out patterns, before moving on to discuss the alphabet, letter names and sounds – more for Amara’s benefit, but Taisia enjoyed helping her younger sibling. For this I used the printed and laminated ABC cards that I designed a while ago. I think I may add them as a cheap download to the shop as they really are a lovely set with their colours and patterns. We talked about upper and lower case letters, and when capital letters are used when writing.
We examined our caterpillars, and noted their shedding. We photographed them for day 4 in our home. They hadn’t had so much of a growth spurt today, and measured approximately 2.7cm when straight(ish!).
We plotted the measurement on our bar chart, and finished the ‘school’ session with a story – Caterpillar Butterfly by Vivian French.
It’s a lovely book from the Nature Storybook series, and a nice reading source to utilise for our butterfly projects. It has snippets of information about caterpillars and butterflies dotted throughout the pages as well as a story to read.
This evening Taisia has referred to ‘school’ what feels like a hundred times (probably about a dozen). Excitedly talking about plans, topics, and her routine chart. We compromised on a list type chart, with tasks that she can fulfil each day, and when done receive her much coveted gold star sticker. I refuse to get drawn into reward chart territory, but she is set on earning these gold stars (found in a charity shop workbook) so a list of everyday tasks to complete felt like the way to go for now. Of course Amara wants what Taisia has, so she will have one too.
Goodness – this parenting/compromising/negotiating/listening to children thing is hard. Always striving to find a balance and make things work for each individual, even though it goes against your own desires can sure make your head hurt sometimes.
In other news, we had our bat survey results back. More about that tomorrow.