We love the changing seasons. The marking points of the year. When we see the ripe apples on the trees, Christmas, Easter and so on. One of these markings is when we can collect chestnuts that has fallen from the trees.
We are so lucky. We live right by a whole street that has Horse Chestnut trees.
Horse chestnut was introduced in Denmark in 1721. It often can be found near roads, parks or in private gardens. It can be around 30 meters tall and has large leaves with 5-7 leaves on each that look like fingers.
When regarding food, the term “horse” used in a name refers to that it is inedible. Animals do eat them, though. An interesting use, is that you can make soap out of horse chestnuts.
We usually make animals out of them and seasonal decorations. For many years, we have struggled to make holes in them with toothpicks, pins, an awl or other sharp things. This year our children were old enough to learn how to use a drilling machine and has really become experts.
Our oldest daughter would like to learn Latin. So we put it on the weekly schedule. We have two kinds of subjects on the weekly schedule – where the children learn individually and where they learn together. Latin is one of the subjects where they learn together. Finding material that is popular with all the children, has been hard. Trying to get to the core of what my daughters goal with learning Latin was, has gotten closer. What they find fun and meaningful with Latin, is the Roman history and mythology. But also how many of the words reminds them of words used in some of the other languages they also are learning. The book “Learning Latin Through Mythology” shown, was found in Foyles in London. We have worked our way through that book and it was a very creative way of learning. We also like to make flash cards and practice them once in a while to remember them.
In most subjects we use a large mix of different books and other ways of learning. In German we have been so lucky to find a Donald Duck book in German and in Danish, so we can compare. We actually thought we could use it, as a translation, to look up words or phrases we were in doubt about. But no. We found out that the content of the text in the two different books were very different. The jokes were better in the German translation. As a basis, we use the Danish German system “Gut Gemacht”, mainly for grammar. We also stumble upon fun things like the Leiderbuch on the picture. We found that on a trip to Switzerland, in one of those switch books closets you find some places, where you can take a free used book.
We placed a compas on a wooden board. Pulled a wire across it with a circuit breaker/push button, so we could turn on and off the power. We then pulled two more wires more than 120⁰ apart (evenly distributed), also with a circuit breaker/push button. We then pushed the buttons alternately, so that the magnetic field changed, and thereby made the compass needle turn around. This is electromagnetism, as Ørsted discovered in 1820. It is used in most electrical appliances we use every day.
We also were so lucky that my dad had a old electric motor model we could test with and examine a coil and a iron core.
We have used Arduino for many different electronic projects because it is quite easy for the children to work with the code and quickly see results. Below you can see a movie where we have made a moving picture with a 8×8 display.
Life is magic. Learning more and more about Mother Earth, makes us realize just how magic life is. We try to bring that into our Home School. Especially Science is often like magic to us. Our world is just so AMAZING! it is so weird, and the more you read about it the weirder and more magical it is.
We love life! We love nature, we even love the Periodic Table.
We also love the unexplainable magic. The magic that is in our minds and develops our ideas and creativity. The silly magic and the down right childish magic, that adults are told again and again to grow out of. Well, I am sorry, but we just won’t.
On the picture you see the Portal Changer from Hayao Miyazaki movie “Howl’s Moving Castle”. It really got to us. So we decided to make our own, to be able to change world, when we leave the house.
Well, how don’t we? English is the second language in Denmark for most people. It is all around us. When our youngest child was 2 years old, he would repeat English sentences from youtube child educational movies, he was watching. He learned to count to 10 in English before he learned to count to 10 in Danish. One of the parents in this family has lived for a long period of time in England and gotten used to dreaming in English. So English is used a lot in this family and seen as an opening to so many educational means on the internet and real life people.
We do English in the traditional manner around the table every week, with grammar books and reading aloud English. But we also do English in so many other ways, like our Chinese books are in English, many movies we watch only have English language or subtitles (yes, we watch weird, low budget, niche culture and our all time favorite – MUSICALS!). We love to read Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss, Calvin and Hobbes, Hans Christian Andersen and Donald Duck in English.
On the picture you see our oldest daughter visiting her dream Book Store Foyles in London on Charing Cross Road. Foyles has four miles (6.5km) of shelves, and more than 200.000 book titles. Field trips are always also a main part of our Home School. We do as many as we can afford.
Having a Home School with 4 pupils requires a bit of planning. There is a lot of laundry, a lot of food to be cooked, a lot of mess that needs to be tidied up and a lot of dirt that needs to be removed. One mother cannot do it alone. It is all about teamwork.
We would like our children to be able to look after themselves, when they move away from home. So they take part in all the daily work with practical things around the house. We have tried to teach them these tasks, and that they are a part of it, since they were very small. Often they will come themselves and ask if they can take part, or they understand that it is a part of life, that has to be done, to make the practical part of life work. If they don’t have any clean underwear or they are hungry, it is very easy for a child to understand that it is not only somebody else’s problem, but also your own task. You are responsible for your own life. We have also tried to show them that it can be fun time spend together, if you try to make it fun. When we fold laundry we dance, sing and listen to music. When we cook, we talk and laugh, and often deep talks can arise through these moments spend together. We can also play ghost with the sheets or give the small kids a hammock sving. Using a saw or gardening tool can also be a learning process, and a task with satisfactory visible outcome. We have strawberries, raspberries, apples and tomatoes in our garden and if you look after them, you can eat them. That is very real to understand. Things can evolve from these moments. It is not boring stuff, it is life.
This film came around, because we have made a cycle path around our house, and has another path that meets with it. This had for a long while resulted in crashes, because the children disagreed who should stop. So I tried to teach the children about priority to the right, stopsign and yield line. They quickly found out that a stop sign AND a yield line, would put a stop to further problems. The path which was down hill, now had priority and you could endulge in high speed cycling.