Home/Tag: Life learning

english…

Last week at the homeschooling meeting we planning out a few activities… a few of them are so-so and don’t really fit in with the kids personalities, or our values so I am not too sure that the boys will be interested… but at least I know about them I can present them with the option.

Because the other moms often spoke about their children being interested in learning English, I thought that it might be a good idea to propose something in English to help them learn and so that my kids would feel like thy can fit in a bit more…

It was supposed to be here but because of the changes in the house I asked to either prospone or find an alternate location and we found a place to do it not far from my house…

It turned out well at first but the room that we were in was too small and there were yoga things that had been left out which made a perfect distraction for the kids…We read a few books out loud making sure that they understood the main words and had them act out some of the things… I had brought some “easy readers” that have new words that they may use and it was fun to see them trying to figure out what the words meant… but after reading and playing out a game…. the combination of so many kids in such a small place with mats and cut up pool noodles turned into moments of total chaos… some needed to go home but two of the moms headed over here after and the kids played in front yard a bit while we taked in the driveway…

We are going to be getting together again in 2 weeks and make sure to have a bigger space and have some more things planned and I have to say that I am totally having doubts about having everyone here because the group is getting bigger and my space really isn’t that big… but overall, the kids seemed to enjoy it and were learning a bit of English and Colin had fun doing a few things and being understood and Xavier started to warm up to some of the things proposed a bit near the end…

I think one of the problems that I found yesterday is that I proposed it so that we could “fit in” a bit more, but they seem to need and want something a lot more structured than I am willing to put effort into…

What is unschooling?

This is a definition of unschooling in the way that I view it.

First of all, Unschooling is hard to explain because it is not only a educational method, but it is an ideology and a lifestyle in itself.

Unlike what many seem to believe, unschooling is not about learning in a vaccuum devoid of outside facilitation, nor is it letting children roam-free without any guidance. It is about understanding learning in a different way, a way that happens through the learner instead of the teacher.

Personally, I do not agree with the conventional schooling system, whether it be private, public or even at home. I do not agree with the division of subjects and the belief that children need to learn certain things at certain ages whether or not they are ready or interested to learn. I do not agree that arbitrary expectations of what children should know are more important than a child’s learning needs. I do believe that some educational systems or individual teachers are better than others, but the system itself is flawed.

My own experiences have showed me that self-motivation and interest are the keys to learning and retaining information. If you want to learn something, it is easy to learn it, but if you are uninterested then it is easy to forget. I remember cramming for tests and then forgetting everything within hours because I no longer needed to know it. However engaging the teacher was, however passionate, if I was uninterested, I would not retain the information. But, when I was interested, I remember going to the library after school and reading on my own and it is that information that I still remember to this day.

I see harm in trying to force education on children when they are not ready or willing. When you force something, you  risk the chance of rebellion. They may memorize, or learn what is asked of them to please the teacher, or parent, but at the risk of losing the love of learning, and they will most likely forget what they have been taught and then both parties have wasted valuable time.

Why risk the chance of killing the love of learning?

So many times in the homeschooling circles, you hear parents asking how to motivate their kids. The problem is you can’t teach self-motivation. You can try to motivate, you can resort to bribing and punishing, you can try to do things in a way that are more interesting, and you may succeed, but if the interest is simply not there, then it will all dwindle quickly. True self-motivation has to come from within, and it is amazing to see  all the learning that can happen with self-motivation and to what extent things can be learned and accomplished.

I believe that life in itself is full of learning experiences. We don’t do activities with “learning a lesson” in mind, we do them because we enjoy them and I trust that learning is always happening whatever they are doing. I trust that children will learn things they need to learn when they are ready to learn them, or need to learn them for the choices they make. Because, in reality, it doesn’t matter when you learn things in the end, if you need skills for something that you want to do, you can learn them at any time.

Unlike many seem to believe, unschooling can and does involve structure and curriculum at times. What is different is that the child is the one to decide.

So what does the parent do in an unschooling family?

We are the facilitators. We provide experiences. We fill the house with books to discover, we show them how to use the internet. We introduce new games and activities. We buy art supplies and make play dough and buy Lego and video games, we teach them how to use the tools around them. We make bread and bake cookies. We clean the house and do our daily tasks. We drive places and find things to do. We answer questions and admit that we don’t know things and show them how to look for the answers while doing it together. We find resources to give them the opportunity to learn even more. We follow our own interests and show them our own love of learning.

What do unschooled children do?

They live, they ask questions, they discover, they play, they follow their hearts and  they learn…

The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.
~Plutarch

 

Read Part 2: What Unschooling is Not

Making Paper…

Annie introduced me to the blog Unplug your kids recently and I am now hooked…

Each week there is a theme and then you blog with a craft/post with that theme… and then leave a comment with your link…

I am definately going to try and keep up with this…

This week’s theme is “Square” and it took me a while to figure out what I was going to do and then yesterday I got an idea… I have been wanting to make paper again with the boys and I just needed to make it square to fit!

First I needed to find a frame… and since square frames are not too common, I went to the hardware store and got one quickly made which put me back 4$… I stained it last night and let it dry…



then this morning I got a piece of a screen and stapled it to the frame…



and then a little duct tape to keep the water out and to keep it neat…


the boys and I then ripped some paper that would have otherwise headed into the recycling…


next was to put water in the blender and add the paper…



and pulse until a smooth pulp…



paper making time!!

dip the frame into the bin with the pulp water…



turn over onto a towel (with newspaper underneath to soak up the water)



and with another towel, cloth or sponge press the the excess of water off on the opposite side on the frame…



carefully peel away the paper from the frame… and cover with another towel, or fold over the excess towel and press the water out (we had seven layers or towel, newspaper and our paper and then put a cutting board ontop of it all and then sat on it.. )

Then I took each piece and put it up on the window to dry…


our own homemade paper!


satisfying days…

There are some days that are just satisfying…

This morning we were up at 6 but not sleepy… The boys had breakfast and I surfed the net a bit while I drank my coffee… then I started on the kitchen and the boys cleaned up the floors to make sweeping easier… then headed in their rooms and did their beds… without me asking…

At about 8:30, Xavier decided that they should go play outside so they brought all of their stuff into the kitchen so that I could help Khéna and Colin get dressed… and they headed out into the back yard and played..

and of course that meant that I could finish the kitchen, make my own bed, start a load of laundry and sweep and wash the floors without being interrupted…

They came in at about 10:15 and we sat down and did the magic trick that Annie shared on her blog and they all took a few turns each doing it and figuring out why and how it works and then did a few dissolving experiments… finishing with a baking soda and vinegar “explosion”…

It is now just after 11am and the house is clean, Khéna is napping on me and the older boys are playing downstairs and laughing… Supper tonight was made yesterday so all I have to do is heat it up this evening and I might make a bread to eat with it this afternoon…The day is not near to being finished but I just know that this mood will continue.. it is just one of those days…

and days like this just make the rough days all worth it…

New blog…

We are trying this out and hopefully it will continue….

The boys wanted to write something recently and then we had the idea of starting a blog and sharing the things they write and do… So it is our homeschooling blog that will hopefully be a journal of what the boys are doing, thinking and what they are interested in…

So here it is…named after the translated name of the park nearest to our home..

Go to Top