One of our children has wanted to a become a dentist, since she was 6 years old. The interest has continued until now, where she is 13 years old. Our dentist had promised us that when she was old enough, she could come and do a work placement with them for a week.
So when she turned 13, she felt ready to try it out. She had already for many years gone with her mum to the dentist there to sit next to her and see the dentist work on her teeth. She had also read every book on teeth we could find for her. So she was ready.
The employees were very nice to her and she was involved in the treatments of the patient all through the day. She sat next to the operating dentist, if the patient allowed it, and most did.
The main thing she found out, was that being a dentist was much more interesting than she had emagined. She thought it would be much of the same work, but she experienced that there was many different jobs and treatments.
So, she even more want’s to become a dentist now after the work placement.
A great way to learn, is in the real world, with real jobs and real people.
One of our children would like to become a vet. She is now 12 years old and just couldn’t wait any longer to try and get a placement. So she called around herself to a few vets near by and got a few rejections, but it all payed off – she got an offer of a one week placement as a vet. It was even a place really close by.
So she started her placement and found out a lot about what being a vet really is about, and is even more determined now to become one.
The employees really took her under their wings and she was allowed to take place in most of the work. She stood by in operations and even in a dissection of a cat with several deformeties, that resulted in it being put down. She found that most fascinating of all the things, she experienced that week.
Homeschooling makes work placement much more flexible, as you can have as many as you would like during the year and can step in when it suits a company, and are not restricted by school schedules. You can take part in real life learning.
We like to learn hands on, with real life events. Everything just makes so much more sence that way. That kind of learning also sticks in your mind.
We have a girl who is very fond of animals. Not just the fluffy caretaker way, but she also wants to see what is inside them, know how they function and what they eat. She wants to become a vet.
So we decided to get some chicken. She wanted to have them from small, so she could watch them grow and develop. We have had them for around 5 months now and it turned out that the 5 hens we bought, was actually 3 hens and 2 roosters. Well, we got them to see the miracle of them laying eggs, se we had to reconsider what to do with the 2 rooster.
As the two roosters grew up, they started to fight each other and chase the children around, so they didn’t dare go out in the garden anymore, as they were afraid of their beaks.
Especially one of them was aggressive. So we decided to kill it and eat it. We watched a lot of you tube to learn from others and set a plan for the butchering. We talked to people who we knew had experience with it and learned.
Well, today we were ready and got on with it. We started out early in the morning and got hold of him and chopped his head off. We then put him in the heated water to get the feathers loosened. Two of our kids removed the feathers and after I took out the guts and we all examined them. The children wanted to measure the intestines to see how long they were.
We then cooked the chicken immediately and ate it. Butchering the chicken ourselves, was brave of all of us, and natural. It feelt really good being that close to nature and taking responsibility for our own food. We all need to have our hands on learning more about nature in our world.
Our oldest home schooled child, has just passed the test to enter gymnasium. Gymnasium is a Danish education, equivalent to High School. It is a 3 year education, which will prepare you for university.
To go from home school to further education in Denmark, you have to sit an 4-hour exam at the gymnasium you would like to enter. You are tested in the subjects Danish, math, english and physics/chemistry in those 4 hours.
You then have to wait for a month to hear the result and you are then called in for a talk with the principal. At that talk you are told whether you have passed or failed to written test.
Our daughter passed the test with 95% correct answers. She also had a 1 hour long talk with the principal, which went very well. So the home school mom, took it as a personal diploma to hang on her home school insecurities, that has pestered her through the years 🙂
We prefer cash to digital money, when it comes to teaching the kids about money. The hand to brain connection is so much easier for children to grasp, that the imaginary world of digital money.
When you hold coins or notes in your hand, it is so much easier to get a realistic idea of how much you own. When you have spend your money physically with cash, they are gone. You cannot see them anymore. Much easier for children to take in.
Using cash instead of digital money will also help your kid (and most adults :)) to save money. It is much harder to give away cash in your pocket, than virtual money on the internet. So you will start saving, when you go back to using cash.
We did this little creative project with our 7 year old, when he was to make a present for his friend. We are so lucky in Denmark to have coins with holes in them. That made this project possible. A cash necklace.
In Denmark we have a special part of Copenhagen called Christiania. It has a history of freedom and rebellion. It also has a history of violence and drug trade. It is also a huge piece of land, with a beautiful lake. It has ecclectic houses spread out in the green flowery landscape. Most of them build by the 700 people living there. The ground was a military area, where hippies and squatters went into the area in the 70-ties and settled down.
The area has been threatened with getting closed down many times since then, but have in a magical way managed to survive.
Today we went there with our kids and a good friend, Grev Lyhne who has lived there for many years. He showed us around and we had a nice pick nick there by the water. Grev Lyhne is a royal court fool, a drummer, a performance artist and a writer.
We like to show our kids different ways of life. Different people. Different surroundings. We hope that it will help them have more ways of life to choose from when they grow up, and that they will find relating to society and people around them easier. That it will help them become more empathetic towards other people.
We have a habit for sticking everything we can’t remember on the wall. So we decided that we could just as well, do it properly. We try to understand things we find hard, or find hard to remember, or just stuff we in some kind of way, need to organize and put in place in our memory, by making posters.
The kids walk by, or sit by the table and they read the posters over and over again. And if you should still forget something, you can just look at the poster.
We replace them regularly as we learn and grow in age and level.
Through the years we have often been asked, which method of homeschooling we use. It has never been important to us to have a method of homeschooling. But we learned that to many homeschoolers it was very important to define themselves in a method. The method defined who they were. Especially with those people we met who defined themselves as unschoolers.
We don’t define ourselves as homeschoolers. Homeschooling is something we do at the moment. We may have done it for 11 years now, but it is still not our identity. It is a personal choice to us.
When we started meeting people who said they were unschooling, we heard about the method and thought, well that is what we do. Child-led and interest based learning. But the people we met said, we were not allowed to call ourselves unschoolers, because we sometimes use classic school material and sometimes teach our children classic knowledge, as learning to read, write and math.
Well, just the fact that other people saw themselves in the position to judge other peoples lives, without having lived it, made us quite negative to the unschooling method. It seemed more and more like an ideology or religion. But most of all it seemed like the main focus in unschooling, was to reject and be against all classical learning and school-like learning.
We see homeschooling as a positive way of learning, that can be merged into daily life and gives you a wonderful opportunity to get to follow your children’s learning and development. What you call that, really don’t matter to us. It is just a definition. There are already too many boxes in life.
Our homeschool is all about content, not ideology. But people around us got more and more angry with us, if we called us the sacred word – unschoolers. So I started looking into what methods there was to choose from on the market, or if I would have to invent my own word, for what we do. Well, we found the following methods on the market (I have organised them in the order of amount of discipline involved. Most discipline first, least discipline at the end):
The Classical Method
Self directed learners
One particular box we seemed to fit into, was Eclectic learning. It is a method that mixes all methods and uses it as a palette of colours as you need them. Most homeschoolers end as Eclectic learners, when they have been homeschooling for many years. It is a natural process of learning – to stay open to all methods.
So to us, confining ourselves to a method, is more of a communication tool, to communicate with particularly unschoolers, where method seems very important. We just live and learn.
If it should happen that some people that call themselves Eclectic learners should forbid us to call us Eclectic Learners, we would just call us the Pippi Longstocking and Gyro Gearloose method. It wouldn’t be a problem to us.