Every year we make a wish list. Usually we update it half-annually. What does that mean? Well, we sit down on the first day of school (which is usually one week into August, when we decide to start the new formal year).
So we sit down together and the children can write their wishes for that year down on a piece of paper. The list could look something like this:
Go to the zoo.
Visit a friend.
Learn to juggle.
Play the guitar.
Learn to make your own clothes.
Go swim in a lake.
Learn a language.
Sleep in a forest.
Visit a museum of choice.
Make a website.
So we sit down, and go through the wishes, talk through what each one involves, and talk about when to do it. And if it is possible for us economically and other practical issues. We set dates and usually we manage to do around 75% of the things during the first part of the year. So after new year, we sit down again, and rewrite our list with what is left, if we still want to do those things left. Then add new ideas.
We are really fond of this idea and have used it for many years now. As a mother I get great inspiration. The children get their influence on our homeschool. The kids learn to feel deep down what they really would like to do.
It is also a practice in communication and negotiation. We do most things together, so sometimes one person really don’t find a thing interesting, and is resistant to come. But sometimes they get surprised that the activity actually was really fun anyway. They get more ready to try new things, and tolerant towards trying to understand other peoples wishes.
Louise Hay has been a huge inspiration in my life. Her book “Heal your life” has helped and still helps me with dealing with past, present and future. I try to give this on to the children. We have gotten so far, with positive thinking, that the children will remind me about it, when I loose focus. They try to help me, and I try to help them to get a great magnificent life that they deserve.
Positive thinking is to us like physical exercise. You have to work hard and regularly at it, to keep the mind thinking positive. The mind really wan’t to go back to negative thoughts.
This exercise is to me much like commercial advertisements. If you keep sending your mind positive thoughts, they will reprogramme your mind. Slowly it will start changing your thought patterns.
Our favorite positive affirmations are these:
All is well in my world.
I love myself and I am lovable.
I am safe and at peace.
I enjoy the foods that are best for my body.
I have plenty of time for all the things I have to do today.
There is always more to learn.
Another great soul to listen to, is Ester Hicks for support to achieve your goals in life.
My oldest daughter found these very motivating videos on youtube. How great to have youtube while home schooling. So many great people out there! She can sing a great part of it now. Learning can always be fun. You just have to be a little creative.
Great to dance to and think about. We look up the things we don’t understand and learn about new areas.
When we first started out home schooling our kids, on 1st of April 2009 (it was not an aprils fools joke, but for some strange reason, we started out on this date) there wasn’t many other home schoolers around in Denmark. So we searched the net for like-minded people, and found a few great inspirational people. This guys videos, we have often used if we needed a kick of energy and to be cheered up in all the criticism from the people around us, in our choice of how to bring up our children. I’ve chosen to show this video, as it is one of his first on youtube, but there are loads more about home schooling to find. Just make a cup of tea and enjoy!
This guy is really fun too. He has got a few more videos too, about homeschool if you search youtube.
This one is also great to show the ignorance displayed, when you try to explain learning.
This book was the least catchy of the three. Maybe because I could only get hold of it in Norwegian. It was hard to read.
It reflected on the change of living from craftsmanships and in small communities, to a massproducing society, where most of the population live in large cities.
It gave examples of how this has effected family life and motivation for learning. Moving from learning by doing, to learning in theory.
3. Deschooling Society, Ivan Illich, 1971.
This was my christmas present this year 🙂 I was so happy and have really enjoyed it. The author is a friend of Everett Reimer, who wrote “School is dead” and they agreed on many things regarding learning. They met in South America, where Ivan Illich worked as a vice rector of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico.
The book “Deschooling Society” is a critique of compulsory mass education. Ivan Illich argued that the oppressive structure of the school system, could not be reformed, but had to be dismantled in order to free humanity, from the crippling effects of lifelong institutionalization.
The book is more than a critique—it contains suggestions for a reinvention of learning throughout society and lifetime. Particularly striking is his call (in 1971) for the use of advanced technology to support “learning webs”.
While Illich never referred to himself as an anarchist in print, he was closely associated with major figures in left-anarchist circles, notably Paul Goodman and unschooling advocate John Holt.
If he had lived today, with the opportunities the internet gives us to find knowledge and peers, he would have been very disappointed, with how little the school systems around the world has changed.
He argues that institutionalization of values leads to a society with physical pollution, greater social equality and psychological impotence. How non-material needs is transformed into demands for consumer goods. When health, education, individual movement, welfare or psychological cure is defined as a result of public benefits or “treatments”.
School has become a religion. It is never questioned about it’s existence, and the acceptance of self-taught learning is very low. Expenses paid in most of the world to school education is growing, and when it isn’t working, more money is set in. We should concentrate on focused and self-motivated learning. The inequality between rich and poor is disproportionate, in how much schooling they receive from the state. And so many resources is wasted on pupils, that lack motivation.
If we could all have a kind of “resource bank” from where you could go when you were ready to learn something. Then everybody could have the access to a certain amount of learning. It could be learning from a person that had certain language skill, a neighbor in your area (Illich also talks about the move away from having local networks) or bringing a group of like minded people together, focused on a special area of learning.
This book seems like a follow up to “School is dead”. Where “School is dead” doesn’t really give any suggestions to other ways of organizing learning worldwide, but describes and talks about the faults of our present systems of learning, “Deschooling society” actually gives a number of ideas to how we could learn in a more constructive way.
We live in a society that believes in mass production, as if it were a religion, and that you can streamline values. That people only can learn in a specific environment and be judged as if they were all alike. We are fooled into believing that we are all given the same opportunities in life, and that it is our own fault, if we don’t succeed. So we learn our place in society and accept the situation. School has become so accepted, as a part of life that we happily hand over our precious children, to be institutionalized and brainwashed when they turn 1 year old, at the latest, because we believe “it is the best for them”. We no longer feel able to bring up our own children. We are not properly qualified. Do not have the right diplomas and schooling.
In an ideal world, I don’t believe there is another way, than our current learning system, that is the right one, but the answer is that there are many right ways of learning. That there should be the freedom to choose different ways to learn. To take responsibility of your own life and your childrens learning, by not blindly accepting the schooling way, but bringing up many alternatives to learn. It would give a much broader knowledge base in the population.
Read the books if you are interested. I found them very challenging and inspiring.
We got the chance to take part in a visit to the Jewish Synagogue today, together with other homeschoolers. We always like to be a fly on the wall, in areas of the world, that we usually don’t have any experience with. It is not easy to get acces there. There has been high security ever since the attack on Sundag the 15th of February 2015 where a man was killed and several wounded. Since that, there has been armed soldiers outside the synagogue, patrolling the area. This is a very sad turn in Denmarks history, as we for so many years have praised our country for being safe, tolerant and inclusive.
First we had to go through the security, where we were led into a barred section, where the doors locked and then another door opened in the other end, and let us out into the synagogues area. There were more police patrolling and let us into the building. There we met a lovely lady, who were to be our lecturer. She told us about being a jew.
After the lesson in Jewish traditions, we were taken into the synagogue. There we were shown the Torah and allowed to ask questions.
All the men and boys had to wear a skullcap. Our son was not happy about being treated differently from his sisters.
In our homeschool food, eating food, making food and talking about food takes up a lot of our time. We are really compassionate about making food choices that benefit our bodies and minds. During the years, we have struggled with different health issues, and found that where the doctor could not help, or ordered medicine that was not a cure, but a symptom treatment, we would try in any way possible to improve our health the natural way. We have had so many great effects on our general health from making specific food choices, that has made the children aware of the effect of food on the body and mind.
A really good book on the subject that we started out borrowing from the library, is “Spisebogen”. After reading this book and other studies, we made a project, where the children made a book where they cut out food from magazines and put into the book, with sections on all the different vitamins and minerals the body need and other vital needs, like water and fats.
We have read and talked about ways of choosing to eat. We have also tried many different diets and specifically The SCD diet has worked well for us (Specific Carbohydrate Diet). But we have also found that meat and fat in general does not sit wonderfully with us, so we mostly choose fish and lean chicken if we eat meat at all with a meal. We also eat glutenfree and have done for 6 years now. We don’t drink milk, as we can’t digest it. In general we try to choose foods that give as high nutrition as possible.
We have found that what is the main way to keep healthy, is doing what you can to strengthen your immune system. So making sure you get as many vitamins, minerals and fats through your diet, as possible. But food is not enough. We also try to get fresh air and exercise every day. Positive thinking and trying to put yourself in other peoples shoes, is also a way to better health. We often read Louise Hay and she is a great inspiration to us. So is yoga and meditation.
Today we started a new project, where I taught the children and a guest pupil to draw. It started with my oldest daughter attending a drawing class, that did not fulfill her ideas of learning to draw. She needed a more crafts approach and to start with the classical drawing skills.
I have attended a lot of drawing classes in the past and been drawing all my life, so it was something I really looked forward to give on to the next generation. The love of seeing things, how they really look.
The plan is to do 4 sessions of 3 hours, and focus on pencil and sketching.
Going to playgrounds, has been a thing we have been enjoying, all during our home schooling years. We live in a country where there are just so many wonderful playgrounds. We live in a city where there are just such a great selection of playgrounds. New ones are build and old ones are rebuild. There are always new ones to explore. It is an absolutely amazing side to Copenhagen and Denmark in general. Denmark is wonderfully child friendly.
When I grew up just outside Copenhagen, in the countryside, there wasn’t any playgrounds. The nature was my playground. It was also wonderful. But it still makes me appreciate the selection of playgrounds I have available for my own children very much.
Well, what do you learn from going to playgrounds? First of all I would say it is physical exercise and getting out in the fresh air in a fun way. Often the playgrounds are also motorically challenging. The children can test their strength and abilities. They can compete and improve their skills from one visit to the next.
Often they have areas where you can build fantasy worlds and role play. Sometimes building blocks where you can build structures. The playgrounds available are just so different and when we visit a new one, we spend much time examining the opportunities that particular one has on offer.