“You are a homeschooler if you learned to spell, playing scrabble” we heard Blimey Cow say, in one of his funny homeschooling youtube movies. Not far from the truth 🙂 Scrabble sure is a real fun way to learn to spell.
The United Nations building in Copenhagen is open to visitors, if you book a tour with them. So we did just that. Gathered 16 homeschoolers and had a look around the building. Before the visit we talked to the children about the purpose of UN, and how, and on what basis it was founded in 1945.
How does spare time activities work together with home schooling? Fine, actually. We see it as a kind of out-sourcing of areas, that we are not capable of teaching in ourselves. Areas that interest our kids.
Through the years, we have attended many different spare time activities. Mostly, a new activity has come around like this:”Mum, what is a scout?” (Watching a movie with scouts appearing in the story). “Mum, I want to be one”. Ok, so we started looking around, to see if we had any scout groups, near by. Non of us had ever been a scout, so we had no idea either, what it was going to be about. We then found a new concept starting, where you could attend a scout group with your family, even though, you were only 1 year old. That meant we could be scouts together as a family (our kids were 5, 2 and 1 year old at that time). That appealed to us. So we ended up being scouts for 5 years. We learned that being a scout involved learning about nature and being able to set up a fire and cook lots of food over the fire. Great fun. Loads of teamwork building stuff out of wood and learning how to use a knife and an ax. Learning morse signals has been very popular here too.
Another time, one of our children said:”I want to dance ballet!” When she had said it a few times, we started to ask into why she wanted to dance ballet. She was motivated by a friend who danced ballet and she had seen her dance. So we found a class that seemed good and she enrolled. That is 4 years ago now, and she is still very fond of dancing ballet.
One of our children have been fond of writing since she was 6 years old and have practiced and practiced on her own. When writing classes have popped up around us, she has taken part. Some has been good others not so fantastic. But it has been a learning process.
Another child has taken part in Break Dance classes.
Our oldest child has made her own writing group with another aspiring author, which she meets up with regularly to work together and exchange ideas and support each other.
One day two of our kids came to me and said:”We have found a drama school and we want to try to audition”. So I contacted the school and got them set up for auditions. It was fun for them to try, and one got in and the other child found out it was not for her to act.
We have also made use of the free offer of evening classes we have in Denmark, when the children are in 7th to 10th grade. One of our children have attended dance classes in musical dance and ended up taking part in a show. She also took part in an arts class and a physics and chemistry class through this free offer.
Recently, we have enrolled in karate classes where we can train together across all age groups and levels. Just in the homeschool spirit.
Some of the most popular children books we have read with the children, is the series “Nomerne” written by Jan Kjær. The kids will come with them over and over again, for us to read them aloud. Now they are so old that they also can read them by themselves. And they do, over and over again.
We have also met him quite a few times at Book Fairs and workshops, where he has signed our books.
So we wrote to Jan Kjær and asked for an hour of his time. He said yes, and we put together some questions about Nomerne and Jan Kjærs life, together with the children.
This new Homeschool activity of learning through interviewing people we find interesting, is great! You can see the interview below.
I caught my oldest trying to explain to our youngest about how fractions work the other day. A moment of intensity and joy. A child happy to share knowledge and a child eager to learn from the older, full of respect. I love these moments that jump out of conversations we have, and turn into very motivated learning.
Making learning come alive, with real life challenges, is high priority in our home school. Learning about numbers and being able to count, makes sense when you get pocket money and want to see if you have saved more than your siblings. High motivation.
We examined sound waves and an Electronic Circuits, by putting together a small keyboard.
The synthesizer is build around the NE555 timer chip and a resistor-ladder.
Below is a screenshot from »Engineer’s Mini-Notebook« by Forrest Mims from 1984. This version uses a lot of different capacitors which makes it more expensive. The previous DIY version shown above is very cheap compared to this one.
One of our children is very fond of learning and making electronics with her dad. She is a very quick learner, 11 years old now. A friend of ours gave her this job – describe and connect all the wires and I’ll pay you a wage.
It is reverse engineering of a printed circuit board. The pieces has been reused from old electronics he already had at home or from dumpster diving.
Our oldest child was researching to find a map of Copenhagen from the 16th Century, and found that it was possible to look at one in real life, in the Copenhagen Town Hall public library. She asked for help to find out how to visit that library and it resulted in us all going there on a tour of the whole town hall and the tower. It was a good way to learn about the democratic process in Denmark, and to understand the way the councils work. The Copenhagen town hall is open to the public, which in itself is quite unique, and you can pay to get a tour of many of the areas not open to the public. You can also pay to get a tour of the tower, which has a unique view over the city. Copenhagen has many towers and we want to climb all of them. We have gone through quite a few of them by now, but this was our first time in the Town Hall Tower. The Town Hall is full of wall paintings, many by famous artists. It also has a room full with unique woven tapestry, with motives from Danish history. As our oldest daughter said:”We just didn’t have enough time there” 🙂
It wasn’t long after I started Homeschooling, that I experienced my first Homeschool Burnout episode. My husband reads a lot and sent me a link to this phenomenon. It actually helped me quite a lot to read and see some videoes on this subject. Then I didn’t feel so alone with this feeling anymore.
I think most Homeschoolers set out with so many ideas about how they want their Homeschool to be. They have great enthusiasm and just really want to do a really great job, bringing up their children.
I have always had larger expectation to live than good is, and it already before having children, some times exhausted myself to the extreme. Having children and 2 children close to each other in age, gave me a wake up call. I had to rethink my gratitude towards what was humanly possible for me to achieve, with all the daily chores on top of teaching the kids.
If you never feel like you get enough done, you have to sit down and think about the way you think. Not just keep on working away until you drop.
My husband said a few magical things to help me. He said:”Does the children look happy? Do they thrive? Do they sing and dance all day? Yes they do! So what do you worry about?” He also said:”When you feel in doubt about whether you are doing a good enough job, always think about the alternative. Then you will never doubt yourself anymore”.
Well, what is Homeschool Burnout? To me it occurs, when all the children ask me stuff, or ask for help at the same time. Meanwhile, the bread is burning in the oven, I did not get enough sleep during the night, because I also had a baby to look after and I also have a job to go to and maintain. When I wake up looking forward to just get all those basic things done, so that we can get to the fun stuff, like painting, going for a walk, sit down quietly and read, or just finish a chapter in history, but the whole day just vanishes between my fingers and I don’t really know what we actually did that day. I am just knackered and feel like I am inside the washing machine on high spin.
So I sat down and thought about how I could look better after myself. Everybody around me said that they loved me, and that I was doing a great job of our children’s schooling. So why was I not satisfied with myself? First reason – I needed more sleep. Second – I needed to look at self love. Third – I had to manage my stress level.
My oldest daughter did a great thing for me. She made this bottle with “I love you because …………….” and allowed me to take a dosis of three notes every time I ended up in this situation. I cried, because it was just the sweetest thing anyone had ever done for me. To receive so much love from your children was magic.
What I have done to manage Homeschool Burnout, is this:
- I prioritize sleep.
- I do positive affirmations every day.
- I meditate for 20 minutes every day.
- We all have 1 hour quiet time every day.
- I try to see it coming, and plan ahead, if I have particular large challenges coming up.
- I hug a lot and laugh and dance.