Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Our Adventures in Homeschool and What's Happening Now

It's been seven months since I wrote this post about our decision to trial homeschooling.
 
I've drafted so many versions of a post sharing what we've been up to over those months and just never got around to posting them. Having the kids at home all the time has meant that blogging has taken a backseat and I'm actually really glad it did.

We have had a lot of fun learning at home. While there have been some really tough days as we adjusted to our new routine, the majority of the time we just enjoyed being together and not being in a hurry to go anywhere or do anything. The not rushing out the door of a morning is absolute bliss.

I did, however, worry a lot. I worried that we weren't doing enough "school" work. I worried a lot about which method to use. I occasionally worried that the kids might drop behind their peers. 

The whole idea, however, was to treat this as an experiment and experiment we did. We started with strategies to deschool, then tried an unschool approach to natural learning and, of course, build in some Montessori (here's a link to all my Montessori posts)

When I look through all the photos I've taken, however, it really is evident that we've done a lot. We've learnt a lot. And we've done it in our own time and our own special way. So, I thought I'd share a few highlights...

We used homemade Montessori beads to explore place value...
...and multiplication...
Learnt about codes and tried cracking cyphers - inspired by the movie National Treasure.

My favourite thing to watch was cooperative free play. Here they are constructing enclosures/homes for different animals...
We (unsuccessfully) tried gardening. These seeds sprouted but didn't live long..
...and we lost both Tommy and Tommy 2.0. The toddler lovingly watering him with pool water was a tragedy!
We used everyday objects like Duplo to explore math concepts...
Tried our hand at some STEM activities such as toilet paper marble runs...

We baked (gluten free) damper...
Took nature walks...
...spotted local wildlife and even tried our hand at making our own episode of Bushwhacked!
We researched topics of interest (dinosaurs!)...
Rediscovered toys we'd nearly forgotten about...
Explored colour theory and learnt about watercolour painting...
And worked through a few basic Montessori tasks to check off the list. Like whole hand transference...
...and threading...
The playroom/schoolroom got reorganised a few times too...
All of this has been interspersed with reading, board games, movies and lots and lots of travel - which I need to blog about soon - including Alice Springs and Uluru, Brisbane, New Zealand and Canberra. I feel that travel is the ultimate learning experience for kids.

When we were home, we had the opportunity to join the fabulous local homeschooling group on a couple of excursions. First we went to the Butterfly Farm - and loved the bunnies more than the butterflies! 

Then we headed to Litchfield for a picnic and a swim...


Then we got the opportunity to help release baby Flatback Turtles into the ocean...

Overall, it's been a really positive experience. I was getting really frustrated with the kids' school and the more I read about the benefits of natural learning and the problems with our school system the more I'm confident that we were doing the right thing.

So what's happening now?

Well, the kids have been back at school for the last week and a half!

I know, Whaaat?!?!

There are quite a few factors affecting this decision - mainly centering around my being pregnant and not having the energy/ability/enthusiasm to keep up with the social needs of three boys who really miss seeing friends every day. I couldn't see this improving for a while after baby arrives, either.

In the end it was our six year old's suggestion and, personally, I left the decision up to the boys. They wanted to try a new school and they had really missed that part of it. At this stage school will be for a trial period and if they're ever keen to give homeschooling another go, then I'm all for it.

So, lovely reader, it's been a while, what have you been up to lately?

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back xx It looks like you and your boys have had quite the experience. Well done!!!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to comment. Your messages always make my day.