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.
Many of our projects spring out of a flee market purchase. We love flee markets. You never know what you will find and you feel like all is possible at an affordable price. This Pyrex flask was used for a large number of projects. First we calculated the volume inside the flask. Then we filled it with water and measured if the amount of water agreed with our calculations.
Many people ask us what it looks like when we do individual learning together at the table. Well, here it is.
In the classical subjects such as Danish, Math, English and German, our kids follow each their own level of learning.
I teach these subjects individually, by laying out the books on our weekly schedule on the table the night before. Each pupil get a stack of books by their seat to complete a certain amount of work in, the next day.
I go through the work to be done, with them, one by one. Then they work independently and can ask for help, when they get stuck.
The music in the background is not background music edited onto the movie later, but was played while we worked. We often chose to listen to music while we work, if everyone agree to the chosen music.
We all help each other and respect when someone finds something difficult.
On our current schedule (it often changes), we spend around 1-3 hours a day on these subjects 3 days of the week. Our goal is to complete the books we use and the additional tests, by 1st of April each year. We have reached our goal every year.
We have been working with physics and chemistry from a system called “Fysikemi” but they got boring when we got to book number 3 out of 6 books. Then we got a charge from the library for forgetting to bring back the books and decided to pay and give the books back for good.
Then we could start over with inspirational materials. Our daughter chose to study DNA and RNA and make a presentation for the rest of us. She chose to work with biology instead of physics and chemistry today. That is the freedom you have when you are homeschooled. You can see it here:
We have struggled a bit with probability theory, and made this gadget to select random numbers. We then compared it to manual random numbers using dice. Then we entered it into a spreadsheet and analysed the data up against each other. One of our kids build the number selector with dad.
After finding and examining the school offer https://skolenivirkeligheden.dk/ we wrote to a few companies, that our kids found interesting. https://www.brusch.dk/ wrote to us that we were welcome to come by and get a tour around their company. They make technical precision solutions for a large range of companies and areas, such as space travel, medical, energy and science. They have a factory in Denmark where they use robots and precision machinery to produce products mainly in titanium, aluminium, silver, cobber and plastic.
Our kids found it very interesting and a good way to get to see an area of work you usually don’t get to know about in your daily life. We try to show our children as many areas of life and work opportunities, as possible, to give them as varied a view of life and the opportunities they have. This can help them, when they have to choose career direction and also give them an understanding of other peoples lives and how things around them are produced.