from winter...where our rink became a pond
and then froze again into ice sculptures
and other eerie things...
now finally onto warmer days & bike rides
spring is here!
it's so good to be back in this familiar place. xxx
What was I thinking when I mentioned last week that I would be continuing the home-education chat as well as a shop update? Hah! and I mean, hah! It isn't happening. I was in the land of lala, AKA: wishful thinking. Since my last post I have been working almost non-stop at my outside-the-home job. I want to make that clear because working outside-the-home non-stop is quite different than working inside-the-home non-stop. For one thing the wardrobe looks different as does the hair, and generally being at my outside-the-home job means I'm away from my inside-the-home job of kids, computer and blogging.
The reality check is that I am in the middle of working 8 days out of 11. I will be finished up after this weekend and then I'll get to those things I mentioned earlier. It's been a little harder this time around than my last crazy work schedule. First off I am missing my kids terribly and I'm sure they must be feeling it too. Thankfully my mum is holding down the fort but still. it's hard. Every once in a while I kid myself into thinking I could do the full time work dance but I think I love being home too much. It's where my life is. It's where the kids are. It's where life happens. Everything else (for me) is pretend.
Last night I cuddled my girlies in our big bed and tears streamed down my face. It's a good thing these years with young ones and it only takes a few days away for me to appreciate the finite-ness of it. So if you don't mind, hand tight for this week and I'll be back when I catch my breath. In the meantime here's a little video clip of my girlies doing their favorite thing...dancing and twirling. It isn't full length as flickr only host 90 second videos, but enjoy just the same and imagine a spectactular ending, okay? xxx
[flickr video=4459391988 secret=78489cf9f2 w=400 h=300]
I want to introduce you to my new baby. his name is mac.
I picked him up at the store on Friday after a long window shopping affair. I've been patiently waiting for just the right time and then a new work contract deemed it necessary to take the plunge... but now I'm all sheepish about the learning curve. Please all you mac owners, tell me (only) good things and that I will get the hang of it because so far my printer won't work even after updating my driver; mac refuses to acknowledge my camera connection so uploading photos isn't happening right now and I'm still trying to navigate my way through the pretty icons. Is it normal to feel a wee bit sad about moving on?? *sniffle*
for going out!
I love how spring makes me feel so alive, like an end has come to the hibernation. This weekend the hubby and I survived a spontaneous social schedule uncharacteristic of ourselves, it was non-stop and included:
If that weren't enough, I ran out this afternoon to have another coffee time with a fellow homeschooling mum - kids included.
Laundry is piling sky high, my house is a wreck and I'm exhausted, but boy did we have fun. It must be spring!
This is a bit of a long post and pictures are scenes from last year.
A typical day for us varies but generally we get rolling with our day after breakfast. The first thing on the list is chores. This is a really important part of learning for me because it deals with individual contributions to the family as a whole. Everything flows much smoother when tasks are delegated and shared. The boys are responsible to unload/load the dishwasher and tidy the kitchen. Then they feed the dog, take him outside to do his business and clean up after him. Everyone is responsible to make their own beds and get dressed, the latter of all the chores being the most difficult. I guess when you don't have to leave home, what's the point of getting out of your pajamas.
Before you continue, you should be aware that not everyday actually
works out the way I described, it is merely a guideline. We keep most of scheduled work Monday to Thursday with Fridays being a free creative expression day meaning the kids can take the whole day to explore their artistic side. I've had to adjust how I home-educating since the girls joined the schedule (I'll use schedule for lack of a better word but it should be noted that I mean it in the loosest of terms). It's been challenging trying to meet the demands of all the children and so I've compromised some of my expectations to allow for the girls to be incorporated. One of the areas that I am speaking of is with my older boys. This year they work more independently than in the past, specifically in the arenas of Math and English, which are broken into two - 40 minutes sessions with a 15 minute break in between. During this time I am available for clarification should any problems arise.
While the boys work at their own pace, I am spending my time with Miss A & Miss J. Our time incorporates oral instruction, printed materials, phonics and reading. In my experience, the younger years require the most hands on involvement for both parent & child as everything is new and the building blocks of future learning are being established. Also, because younger children have shorter attention spans more varied activities help to keep things flowing smoothly. I usually have a few things planned for my time with the girls but it's not a big deal if we get through it all. There is always the next day.
At around 11:30 am I send encourage the kids to go outside to run around and let off some steam. I usually need a break by this point. By noon, we are tackling the lunch issue (that's a post in itself) and once everything is eaten & cleaned up we are ready for the afternoon. The boys have been taking piano instruction for quite a few years now so they practice in the afternoon following with 45 minutes to 1 hour of reading time. Twice a week they will read a science, history or geography book, the other times they read a book of their choice.
When I have something specific that I want to teach (science, history, geography social studies) we take some time in the afternoon. But really and this is where the un-schooling comes in, I see my role as more of a facilitator that oversees and guides their interests. Last year for example, the B-meister spent a great deal of time (a few months) studying the Canada Goose both in theory (books) and in practicum (sitting in our backyard watching them). He likes to tackle his projects one at a time and his methodology is a combination of theory and observation. My role in this situation was to support his interests with books and even the gift of time for those afternoons when he would sit outside and quietly watch "his" geese. When he was ready, he compiled his data: drew a picture of a goose, labeled the diagram, wrote up a few facts, things he observed and for creative writing he wrote a short story on the Canada Goose.
My eldest son the J-man works entirely different. He loves knowledge and the more he can learn about any given subject the better. He is constantly reading and will easily pick up a book on Geography just to learn something. He absorbs information quickly and has a reader's vocabulary, meaning extensive.
To facilitate the interest learning, weekly trips to the library are a hugely important part of our education supplies. Bi-weekly we drop in and load up on the books and yes indeed, I always have late fees.
We also enhance our learning through video. We don't have cable but we do own or rent appropriate videos that aide in the learning process. I can't say enough good things about the BBC natural history collection. It is the best investment that we have made and by far the favorite of all DVDs in our home. My kids will watch a segment a couple of times a week. Other popular DVDs are CG kids which covers the Canadian provinces and cities (geography). The internet while scary at times, is also a great tool for learning. Make sure you put your child friendly filters on and supervise the Google searching. Field trips round out our time with visits to museums, etc.
The point about education for me is that my kids cultivate a love of learning. I have no interest in duplicating a school, if that were the case I would just send my kids there. I'm sure there are rooms for improvement in our methods and some things we do better than other things but most importantly we are learning.
I think I'll stop there for today and maybe next talk I'll compile a list of websites I use as resources.
I've been getting a few emails lately about homeschooling, from the how-does-my-day-look to curriculums to socialization issues. I thought maybe a segment on homeschooling would be helpful for those that are interested. But before I jump in, I want you to know that I am no expert and neither should I be perceived as one in this arena. I do what works for my family right now and I am fluid to change. This segment should also not be perceived as a negative to those that choose to send your children to school. We all love and want our children to succeed and so we do what we have grace to do in our individual circumstances.
According our provincial government you can choose one of three ways to educate your child:
All three options listed above are a personal preference and costs are the responsibility of the parent(s)/guardian. There is no funding for homeschooling in our province and so you are responsible to pay your local school taxes even though you do not avail yourself of those services.
For our family we chose child centered learning. We embrace use of both printed and non-printed materials. Because our geographic location is so affected by seasons I
keep most of the printed material study to the winter months when our
days inside are longer. We use printed materials mainly to reinforce basic concepts but overall I favor the approach of unschooling and find it most suitable to family life and the instinctive needs of (my) children. Once the warmer days hit we abandon the books for an unschooling life at it's finest as we head outdoors to explore the world. This is my personal favorite time of homeschooling, long walks, talks about life and individual interest studies.
How about we stop there for today and continue on with what a typical day looks like in our next segment.