I love my mommy I love my daddy. I love homeschool. I love nature. I love food. I love my family. I love my pets. I love my home I love my movies. I love baking. I love colouring. I love things.
Last week the kids have been immersed in Lego. Lego heroes, Lego battles, Lego houses. They built Lego together. They built Lego separately, and then joined their worlds into one.
What did I do? Well, I just let them play. It was another lesson the kids were giving me about “letting go.”
I was letting that self doubt start to creep in. Questions, worries, uncertainties.
Are the kids learning enough? Are they learning? Are they having fun? Are the choices we are making adding and enriching their life or diminishing it? Am I making the right choices?
Of course when self doubt creeps in for me, it creeps into the kids and they show it in their own ways. Ways that are not always easy to manage if I’m not in the right mindset. They bicker, they have dramatic upsets, they complain. Their sleep is interrupted, the choices they make may not always be stellar. It’s the cycle that flows from me to them. If I am feeling uncertain and unhappy, of course they will too.
I have become better at recognizing the slippery slope and am able to either catch myself sooner, or pull out of it sooner. So I tried to let go and let them lead the way. They played completely focused and engaged for about 2 or 3 mornings in a row. Then with that space they asked questions, and explored.
I watched them. I read. I practiced yoga. At one point I was watching a video about Math that was focused on the growth mindset that we discuss a lot in our home education days. The kids would pause, watch, ask questions and then go back to what they were doing. The pauses became longer and the questions increased until they moved from their Lego into other areas of creation and math problems.
Their world kept growing and expanding out from Lego to working on tangrams and building shapes.
They watched videos about the Fibonacci sequence and discussed where we can see the sequence in nature. They looked through a book on the works of MC Escher and tried to find the sequence in his art.
They visualized and encoded numbers, created patterns, and worked on various math problems.
What do you see when shown a configuration of dots for a under a minute. How many dots are there? How do you see them?
They were engaged, and excited and each one had their own area of interest that they focused on a little bit more.
So back to my self doubt and uncertainty. Are they learning enough? Are they learning? Are they having fun? Are we making the right choices?
If they are still showing a curiosity and interest in learning and in the process- then yes they are. So the education continues. My education. Because sometimes I am their guide but really most times I am the student in this.
*The majority of the Math videos we watched and math problems we explored that week came from the website https://www.youcubed.org/ along with talks featured on the Ted Talks website. “Hackschooling Makes Me Happy” is a favourite of the kids.
The Ice Cream poster problem that my son worked on can be found here.
**The dot configuration problem can be found in the Week of Inspirational Math (iMath) on the youcubed.org site.
I am zahra. roses are red .violets are blue. sugar is sweet and so are you.
I read an article about a year ago about a family that unschools. We Don’t Need No Education was the title. Their approach was quite free. Their two sons spent the majority of everyday outside roaming the woods surrounding their home. They seemed to have very minimal if any academic “school” time. Their education was purely child led, independent, outdoors. The boys had breakfast, did their chores, then went outside by themselves exploring until the end of the day. The boys started learning to read when they were ready. They sounded like true outdoorsmen and had what seemed absolute freedom.
I have found that every family’s true definition of unschooling differs. It fits each family in their own unique way.
To me unschooling is defined as allowing personal freedom, choice, and expression in learning. Allowing learning in real life, without scheduled traditional structures that are routinely followed. Where interests are followed.
I thought about this article today because with the weather becoming much warmer, so many days have been purely outdoors. This morning both kids have been off on their own in the woods by our home. Playing, building, eating snacks, creating their own world. I can see their heads and colored shirts through the trees from where I sit outside. I can hear their voices. They are content that it is just them.
My husband told me today how Carl Jung talked about children’s desire and actions in the need to create their own “secret space.” It is a place for their “spirit” to go. I see that in the boys in the article. I see that in my children as well. As I look around, I wonder if we do enough of that for our kids? Allow them to be free, to be outside, and create their own spaces? A space their spirit can be free, and undisturbed from the “order” and chaos of adults?
I see the importance. I wonder if that is what happens to us as adults? Did we develop that secret place when we were young? If so, can we still find it? Do you go there?
A “secret” space where our spirit resides.
New season, new life, new change.
There have been so many great things happening. We have been enjoying the moments and I have not stopped to write about any of it. So like a new season, a new start, I am starting to post again.
This week has been what I call a week of math. I have not decided that. My kids have, of course. I just go with it.
A short while back my father-in-law introduced my son to angles. What they are, how they are different, and how we can measure them. He really enjoyed the impromptu lesson.
This week he decided that he wanted to learn more about angles and practice making them. So that is what we have been doing. As I am sure most homeschooling parents will find, homeschool is not a lesson for the kids as so much a lesson for the parents.
So here I am, enjoying geometry again because of my son.
He brought out his protractor and paper. (We could not locate a compass yet)
He drew lines and vertexes. I did the same. He measured them and learned how to correctly record the angles on paper with the angle sign. We talked about circumference, and how a circle is 360 degrees. He knew what a 90 degree angle was, but joined the connection of 90 degrees to 180 degrees to 360 degrees. He noted that once the circle was drawn 90 degrees divided it into 4 quarters.
And he kept wanting to go further.
We talked about and drew right angles, reflex angles, and obtuse angles. The difference between diameter, and radius.
We discussed geometry in nature. How a honeycomb fits together perfectly. All the cells are the same hexagon shape. Or the bearings on a compass. We use degrees to measure navigation, starting with zero degrees which represents North.
He wanted to expand into shapes and drew triangles, cubes, and pyramids.
I am refreshing my vocabulary. Equilateral triangles, isosceles triangles and scalene triangles. He drew each triangle and checked the sides and angles to make sure they add up to the correct amount. ( All 3 angles must equal 180 degrees in a triangle )
He also played with interactive triangles. The website https://www.mathsisfun.com/triangle.html has been a great interactive resource.
This has been our last few days. And as I type, he sits beside me still drawing angles.
Last week was a usual flurry of activity. Some days it rained. Thanks to Grandma M the Magic School Bus DVD collection became a top item in the house.
There was also spring skiing and a lot of creative play.
The kids spent a great afternoon with their Aunty B last Wednesday. She is teaching them how to sew using a sewing machine!
I can’t say how excited they were to learn.
Aunt B started them out with a great step by step process.
The kids are learning a great skill.
Sewing teaches planning.
It’s a step by step process.
They problem solved.
They used creative thinking.
They applied patterns and sequence.
But most of all, they had FUN.
I love that the kids look forward to bedtime so they could use their pillows.
Thank you Aunty.
Homeschooling is a different flow.
Some things work as planned, some things do not. Sometimes there are no plans, and the world flows naturally.
Some days are busier than others.
Both of my kids are active in various sports and activities. On the farm we are 30 minutes from town so on busier days we are usually home later in the evening. Because of this I try to keep busy-ness down to a bare minimum those mornings.
I am finding as I meet and talk to more and more homeschoolers a lot of the longer term homeschoolers are like this. Each year they better get to know themselves, better get to know their children and contrary to belief, instead of pushing them to learn more, learn faster, cram everything in and finish early, they instead slow down.
They enjoy their time with their children. They allow them to play, to explore more. They travel, they read, they surf, they ski, they build. They take it as a great time to build on their relationships. They go with the flow.
How much am I going with the flow?
Yesterday morning my daughter asked if she could watch a specific video and then play a game on Brainpopjr. One thing that I am fairly strict on is the amount of screen/TV time my children have. This is not something I would usually allow first thing in the morning. But that morning I said okay.
There was something specific that she wanted to see. Isn’t that why we do this? When our kids have an interest or curiosity, we let them follow it.
I let her watch and play on the computer. My son and I played chess. Then my son took a turn on the computer.
It was actually a math game on number concepts, fractions, decimal percentages. Treefrog Treasure. I sat with both of them and we talked through some of the problems that were presented.
Which is bigger? 3/4 or 1/2?
If you think of the decimal .5 as 50% where on the percentage line would that go?
When I was making lunch my daughter and I drew some fractions out. I would draw the “pie” and she would colour and then write out the fraction. My son soon joined us. We took out a measuring cup and compared the fractions on paper to where the fractions are on the measuring cup.
It was a fun, quick, hands on lesson.
Remembering to just go with the flow.