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.
We like to challenge ourselves with new projects. Challenge ourselves with stuff we are scared of, or put off, because it could be hard and uncomfortable.
Sleeping in shelters and going camping is new to us and has taken us a bit of time to get into. When we go into new areas we havn’t explored before, we do research. Loads of research.
We also find learning about geography from books and media hard to remember. It doesn’t really stick. What we have found, is that if we go somewhere it is easier for us to remember geographical locations. That can be an expensive way to learn 🙂 But we set ourselves affordable projects.
For many years we have wanted to visit Jutland, especially the Northern part. There is so much unique nature to see there, which we wanted to show the children.
As we did not have much money, we decided to sleep in shelters and go camping in out tents.
The first night we slept in a shelter in Moesgaard Forest close to Århus. We found out that there often is very far to walk to the shelters with all your stuff. So we got free exercise. We had a lovely evening with fire and singing. When the night came, we were presented with extreme weather experiences with lightning, thunder and massive rain. We are still happy to have survived.
We also had the opportunity to meet up with 2 other Home Schooling Families from Jutland at the museum. The museum has a lot of interactive elements in the exhibitions, which is a great way to involve you in the different time periods.
The next day we decided to stay at a Campsite, we had visited last year, and knew they had a great pool. During the day we visited “Den Gamle By i Århus” which is a large area where you can visit different time periods in Danish history: https://www.dengamleby.dk/en/den-gamle-by/
We then drove to Skagen. On the way we stopped at the shelter and free camping site that we had read about. But the weather was very wild and rainy so we started to talk about spending a bit to rent a cabin. We walked out to the shelter and it was a beautiful place and free (not so strange in that weather 🙂 but another thunder and lightning weather was on the way and the majority vote in the family was towards renting a cabin at a campsite. The main complaint was that we would have to walk 4 km in rain out to the shelter. So we drove around a few campsites until we found a free cabin. What luxury! A roof over our heards. Come thunder and lightning, we were ready.
After having found accommodation we drove to Skagen Museum and saw the Krøyer exhibition and the main exhibition about the Danish Skagen painters.
We then decided to go full spending, and went out to eat at a traditional fish restaurant at Skagen Harbour. The kids said:”Now we have tried the top and the bottom of living”.
To save money, we decided the next 2 days to move into our tents again, but to stay at the same campsite. Because they had both an outdoor and an indoor pool 🙂 The children were hooked on the place.
From there we had a quick drive to Råbjerg Mile. A large area with sand, which moves 15 meters towards the North-East every year.
Then we drove to see the sanded down church. We climbed the tower. We then tried to emagine the 20 meter church below the ground.
Then on to see the Rugbjerg Knude Fyr, which is just about to slide into the ocean and disappear. But they will try to make an attempt to move it further into the land.
We then drove to Lønstrup to visit another friend and Home Schooler. Lovely evening with dinner, talk and play. The drive back to our campsite presented us with a magical natural phenomenon. There was sea fog all over. It looked so beautiful.
When we got back to the tent our air mattresses had punctured and we had to sleep straight on the ground. Our backs really got straightened out 🙂
The next day, we tried to repair our air mattresses, but no luck, so had to go buy new ones. We then drove to Grenen and spoiled ourselves with a tractor drive out there. Some of us had a swim in the two oceans – Skagerak and Kattegat. The weather was lovely that day.
Our oldest daughter had brought her physics book on the holiday, so we could work a bit with it in the evenings. Today she read about center of gravity, torque and force times arm. We explored some of it by doing gymnastics.
We then had a very rainy night and had to pack some very wet tents and other wet stuff together in the car. Then we set off towards our final goal – Farmfun at Ålbæk. We had booked a Junglehut for 1 night. We also met up with 2 more Home School families there. Farmfun is a great place with a mix of farm animals but also many exotic animals. You can got close to many of the animals and the animals are really calm and thriving. There is also obstacle courses and labyrints. You can also play in the barns and try a cable car. Frankly, despite the rain, it was a wonderful place.
Farmfun was a wonderful free place to be. To sleep in the Jungle Cabins was a magical adventure. Imagine sleeping in a Tree House right above an Emu, having all the animals around you, with all their special sounds and smells. When we opened the door to our cabin in the morning, 3 cats stormed into our cabin and had a party. When we got back home we really missed the animals and the spirit of Farmfun.
On this trip we confronted a lot of limits we had (mostly the mother, the kids and the husband are dead cool on that behalf 🙂 We survived heavy thunder, lightning and rain. Digged a toilet in the forest and survived using it 🙂 set up the tents and took them down most days, moved from one place to another every day, slept in a different bed every night, slepts without a mattress. Swam in the ocean without having brought a towel or swimsuit. We feel we have gained courage and confidence.
My husband had for a long time wanted to make the periodic table more easily understandable, and got the idea that by working with the most common everyday used metals, we could actually touch the atoms.
We have had a few different versions of the periodic table on our wall for many years, but got a new more clear version given, so we decided to take the old ones down and put that clearer and larger one up in our living room.
That started a collection of little metal fragments, that the kids put up on the table by the correct metal.
Then my husbands holiday came, and we had the time to do a metal project. He made a specification sheet that they should fill out for every metal we worked with.
Monday we talked about iron. A metal easy to recognize and plentiful in our surroundings. He had made a iron coil earlier around an iron pole, so we got the chance to also do the Ørsted experiment again.
Tuesday we talked about gold. He told the story about the King who wanted to make sure the crown he had ordered was completely made of gold, and how Archimedes helped him solve that problem. We also looked at the stock exchange quotes for metals in the newspaper (Børsen).
Wednesday we talked about copper. Copper is widely used for wires used for electronics, so we had the chance to measure electric circuits on our Oscilloscope and our newly made Joule Thieves. After the lesson at home, we went to The Technical Museum in Elsinore and saw the original Ørsted Compas from 1820 (see photo). We also saw an Exhibition dealing with our extreme use of mobile phones today, which also take great use of copper and a large number of other metals.
Thursday we talked about aluminium. Many of our pots and pans were made of aluminium. Aluminium is very thermally conductive, so good when cooking food, to get a high heat quickly and to get back to a low heat quickly too.
Friday we went on a field trip to the local Metal Scrap Yard. We had made an appointment earlier with an employee there, who were kind enough to show us around on a guided trip.
I keep a dairy of our home school activities. Mainly to document our progress in case of a a control visit from the State Supervisory Authority. But also for our own use, to help us keep an overview of our work and activities through the years. I now have diaries from the past 10 years and sometimes I go back to help myself find an activity or way we did things, to inspire us again, to think in a new way. I am used to documenting, so it really feels as a natural choice to me. It gives me an overview of our life. I have also often shared my dairies with new Home Schoolers, who wrote to me and asked for help to set up their own.
Our dairy looks different throughout the year, but has a rhythm. The year goes as follows in our Home School:
From August until November and from January until April, we work systematically from a classical weekly schedule, that covers the basic subjects like Math, Danish, Languages (English, German, Spanish, Latin and Chinese), Physical Exercise, History, Geography, Biology, Physics, Chemistry and so on. We spend from 1-6 hours a day on our classical School work. Often we will have field trips as well, so we try to do our classical school work around those trips.
Here is an example of a weeks dairy entries in that period of the year:
Monday. The 2 oldest children chose a book of their own choice, read it, took notes and made a 15 minute talk to the rest of us about the books subject. This week the chosen subjects were “Witches before and now” and “Leonardo da Vinci”. The oldest child made a math test with the subject potency, square roots and cubic roots, she also translated from an English book called “The lives of Einstein” into Danish and did one page in her Danish grammar book “Min niende danskbog”. The youngest girl completed one page in her English book “Let’s do it Step Four”, one page in her Math book “Sigma for femte” and one page in her Danish book “Min femte danskbog”. The second oldest child completed one page in her Danish book “Min sjette danskbog”, one page in her English book “Let’s do it step five” and did a Math test in the subject linear functions. The youngest child completed one page in his Danish book “Læs nu løs – opgavehæfte 1A”, two pages in his Math book “Sigma for første A” and read aloud for us from “Læs nu løs”. At 11 o’clock a friend came over to take part in our Arts classes, where live drawing was planned. We talked about colour circles and experimented with oil, pastel and charcoal.
The two oldest girls chopped the wood for our fireplace. My husband came home from work and made an experiment with static electricity – we charged a balloon with a wool cloth and then turned on the water and it bend in reaction to the static charge.
Tuesday. The youngest child makes 2 pages in his book about knowing the time “Jeg lærer klokken” and his youngest sister helps him. The three oldest children complete one page in their Danish grammar book “Min femte, sjette and niende danskbog”. The two oldest children completes a math test from “Sigma”. I read aloud from our children’s bible “Børnenes illustrerede bibel” and the children drew an animated story that fit the bible storys content. We all practiced our Spanish, by working on Duolingo for 20 minutes. We then all went to a library where we met up with other Home Schoolers, and the children played together and read. In the evening the two oldest children, went together til an evening class, to learn about physics and chemistry.
Wednesday. All of us played mini-yatzy, an Alkalær card game with the most used 120 Danish words. The oldest child wrote a song for our musical project. The two youngest children made a movie featuring them making music on different objects around the house, inspired by our book “Skrammelmusik”. Two of our children practiced playing on our keyboard. The three oldest children made two pages in their German book “Gut Gemacht”. All the children made one page in their Math book “Sigma”. All the children made one page in their Danish grammar book “Min første, femte, sjette og niende danskbog”. The youngest child read aloud from his reading book “Læs nu løs”. The second oldest child went to her Drama School – Eventyr Teatret, and the oldest child followed her there. The two youngest children went to play with some friends at their house.
Thursday. The three oldest children filmed and practiced the last part of our film about the Peacock mantis shrimp. Martha edited the film. The three oldest girls wrote sentences in Latin and mum read aloud about Pompeii and a family that had been found in the remnants from the volcano. Hjalmar practiced reading from the book “Læs nu løs”. The three oldest girls then made one page in “Biologi – Pirana” and the oldest child supplemented with knowledge from her book “Menneskekroppen – Politiken”.
The youngest child completed one page in his Math book “Sigma for første A” and one page in his Danish work book “Læs nu læs – opgavehæfte 1 A”. The youngest child helped mum make a chocolate/beetroot cake. The two middle children sewed on their costumes for the musical we are going to perform in our garden.
Friday. The three youngest children read aloud from the chemistry book “Fysikemi 1”. We wrote a chemistry report plan together. We watched a film about Benhams colour wheel: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benham%27s_top The youngest child read aloud from “Læs nu løs”, he also completed two pages in his Danish work book “Læs nu løs – opgavehæfte 1A”. Mum read aloud from the Science book “En meget kort historie om næsten alt” on the subject Einstein and his Relativity theory. While mum read, the three oldest children took notes. Together, we practiced writing, pronunciation and understanding of a number of Chinese signs.
The three youngest children tidied and cleaned their rooms. The oldest child edited the Peacock mantis shrimp film and put it out on our youtube channel Videnskanalen.
Mum went for a walk with the two youngest children. The two oldest children went on their newspaper round. In the evening mum went with the second oldest child to her ballet lesson. Later all the children played and build with Lego in their rooms.
Saturday. The oldest child worked on her animation for her little brother – a birthday present.
The second oldest child worked on a card for her little brother. The second youngest child feed her snake and discovered he was about to change his skin.
The second oldest child went on her bike to the supermarket and mailed some letters. One of them a letter her little sister had written to a friend. The children all played together with Lego.
In the evening we watched “Hair” together and talked about the Vietnam war and read about it on the internet.
Sunday. Early morning the second oldest child went with her mum to go swim in the ocean.
When they got back, she helped mum make dough for crispbread. The children build and played with Lego. The whole family went to the cinema and watched “The Lego Movie 2”.
The rest of the year, December and from May until July we have another rhythm.
December is a special month for us. It is the Christmas month. We love Christmas and all the traditions. So we have a goal every year, to get half way in our classical material work books, so we can focus completely on celebrating Christmas with gift making, singing, trips to see Santa, Santa Lucia, visiting Christmas show and exhibitions, making Christmas decorations and watching Christmas movies. We really love Christmas.
May until July we have our summer holiday. Mum is not working in this period of the year, so we have reclaimed all the evenings and can spend all day together every day. We spend most of this period of time swimming in the ocean, sewing, reading, writing, playing games, watching movies, going on trips, visiting friends and talk and talk. We also look at our wish list for the year and see which things has been on it for a while and we still all really would like to come to life. So now we often get time to realise those projects too.
That quite nicely sums up our standard year, and we love it. The best thing is, that we can change everything if we want to, from day to day. Home school is a flexible way of learning and you can always evaluate if your daily routines work for all of you.
We like to have an overview of a year in our school. It is also nice to have, if you are to have a control visit from the State Supervisory Authority.
We started out by reading the Danish common goals for state schools really closely. We knew we had by law to cover the common goals, so it seemed logic to me to write down all the subjects they cover in state schools. Then we filled in all the literature we use for the different subjects and we also wrote an annual goal and ideology. I will make an example below (this is not our actual year plan, but put together in a simplified way to give inspiration to others. In our actual year plans, we also have a section under each subject specific to each child):
Year plan 2018-2019
4 children – 9th grade, 6th grade, 5th grade and 0 grade.
As a foundation our teaching will be based on Danish common goals. Our children should at any point be able to enter a state school, with the academical and social skills that should be required at that grade.
Our home school has a focus on individual interests and personal development. The school supports them in each their individual process of learning, what they are interested in.
Participation in home schooling networks supports their socialization and gives them a like-minded group to relate to.
The oldest child participates in classes in different subjects she chooses through the publicly offered youth school. She also continues with her writing group, that she has arranged herself, at a local library once a week. She also continues writing projects for different competitions online and writing together with other child authors online on Movellas website, where she also helps correct their texts for misspellings and gives input on the storyline. The second oldest child participates in “Eventyr Teatrets” drama school. She also continues her ballet training, where she performs publicly at different events. The second youngest child participates in ZooCamp at the Copenhagen Zoo, where she together with other children her age learns about the animals and how to take care of them. We annually complete a theatrical piece in our garden in cooperation with other home schoolers.
During the day the children also learn to participate in general common jobs around the house, such as cleaning, tidying, cooking, baking, planning, gardening, shopping and solving conflicts.
We arrange and take part in regular home school meetings. Some of these are held at the nature cabin at Streyf in Copenhagen. These meetings are open to new home schoolers and old home schoolers. It offers a chance to give to the community, but is also an opportunity to meet new like-minded people to build relationships and projects together with.
The subjects taught through the year, joint and individual level.
I have written examples below of our structure. In our actual year plan, we also have sections under each subject on each child.
Every week we go to the library together to read. The children take part in the librarys “Summer Book” review. They write letters to friends in the mail or by email. They all complete their current grade Danish book “My ….th Danish grammer/writing book” by Delta, Maj Rørup. They read every day books that they like. Our goal is to improve grammatical technique and knowledge. Build onto the children’s level of constructing a story line. Work towards better handwriting skills and spelling. We use different games, such as “Scrabble”, “Spelling dice”, “Story cubes”, “Alphabet memory game” and puzzles. Annual trip to “Herlufsholm Fantasy Book Fair” where we meet the authors. Write novels and participate in selective competitions. Do individual writing projects after personal interest.
A taste of our literature for the year in the subject Danish:
DANSK, Gyldendals mini-grammatik, Erik J. Nielsen
My ….th Danish grammer/writing book, by Delta, Maj Rørup
The Magician Guild, Trudi Canavan
The Girl at Midnight, Melissa Grey
An unknown amount of Manga
Donald Duck in many versions
Skriveguide til forfatterspirer, Anna Lorenzen
Fra ide til bestseller, Rikke Moos
Alkymisten, Michael Scott
Lademanns children lexicon
H. C. Andersen
Mio min Mio – in Swedish
1000 and 1 night adventure
How to do brush lettering
The Princess Academy
Alkalær – Bo så en ko, Mi La + Ki Fu
The abducted letter
Training and learning an easy job 3-4 years
Halfdan Rasmussen ABC
Skæg med bogstaver
Learn the alphabet with dots from a-å
The family Hedenold
Contrasts (series about shapes and colours)
Newspapers and magazines
George Orwell, Animal Farm
George Orwell, 1984
Brave New World, (1932) Aldous Huxley
Uglies, Pretties, Specials, and Extras, Scott Westerfeld
Mind Games, Teri Terry
We work towards the ability to ask mathematical questions. To be able to set up mathematical problems and then analyse the basis for and abilities of the models. To follow and judge a chain of mathematical arguments. To understand different ways of representing mathematical objects. To decode symbols and equations. To asses and evaluate the use of mathematical aids. We cover Exponentiation, geometry, fractions, percentage, charts and interest. Every year the children will complete each their current grade math book “Sigma for ….. grade” and the additional test in the system. We learn about the history behind numbers, like for example roman numerals and zero. We take math into daily life, by calculating prize differences when shopping food and other daily necessities. We make a market stall by our house and learn about prizing and sales optimisation. We learn about algebra and how to use it in daily life. We try to improve each our level of mental arithmetic.
A taste of our literature for the year in the subject Math:
Sigma for ….. grade, pupils book and work sheets
We travel together by car, public transport, by bike or by foot. We talk about the different traffic situations we encounter on our way and take action on the mistakes we make.
When the children reach a trustworthy level of individual responsibility for their own skills in the traffic, we let them slowly try different little trips in traffic on their own.
Then after a while when they feel more confident in traffic on their own, we let them for example go on their own to spare time activities or to a friends house on their own.
We also visit the traffic playground in Copenhagen, where you in a safe environment, can learn how to follow traffic lights and traffic signs by bike or by foot.
We bike together or alone around Copenhagen for exercise. We walk to the playgrounds in our area. We go shopping together and carry home loads of heavy food and necessities. We go to the sea, the forest and walk in the nature together. All our children like rollerblading, so they are often used for a quick run around in our area. We also have a trampoline in our garden, which is in use most of our days. We also have trees you can climb in our garden and in our local area, which is a popular sport with the kids. Generally, we try to challenge the childrens motorical boundaries.
We swim frequently in the ocean or in lakes during the summer. In the wintertime we visit different swimming pools, where we practice our swimming abilities.
In the winter we go to skating rinks inside and outside. If there is snow outside, we go skiing and ride on our toboggans.
We really love dancing. Most days we put on music and dance around the living room together. We all get to choose our favorite music and to us music is the joy of life.
We visit “Eventyr fabrikken” in Kokkedal, which is a very physical place for children, where they can play and challenge their own physical abilities. We also go to Sommerland Sjælland to exercise and have fun moving our bodies.
We meet with other home schoolers in a park once a year to play rounders together.
Every morning the kids have to run 5 times around our house. They also have to do 3 yoga exercises of their own choice.
Most of our kids go to spare time activities of their own choice. One does ballet and drama classes. Another attends lessons in break dance. Another does musical dance.
A taste of our literature for the year in the subject Physical Education:
Sjov med yoga for børn og voksne, Juliet Pegrum.
Yoga for dig, Rebecca Rissman.
Lyt til løven yogaremser for børn, Lotte Salling og Emmamaria Vincentz.
Our Religious Education has Christianity as a foundation. We curiously and openly study, experience and look into the other major and minor religions.
We read aloud from children bibles, they take notes and draw a cartoon about that particular section. We then talk about the historical element at that time and discuss the story we have read in relation to present time.
We visit a playgroup for children in a church once a week. In that playgroup, we often experience theatrical setups of different important moments in the bible.
We read about other religions than christianity and talk about what religion in general means to us and other people.
We visit the Hare Krishna festival, The Turban day, the Jewish synagogue and the Ba Hai Centre .
We make a Lucia Parade to the joy of our grandfather. We read about the traditions we celebrate as a Christian Country.
A taste of our literature for the year in the subject Religion:
A selection of bibles. Mainly Børnenes illustrerede bibel, Borgen.
Stories of Creation from different religions and cultures.
Books about the Norse mythology.
Annunciation to the shepherds (christmas).
We look at a wide selection of Danish songs and hymns. We listen to them and practice singing them. We learn about nodes and practice reading them and writing them. We make music videos and write choreography to the dances we use in them. We dance to Just Dance videos from youtube.
Each child has chosen an instrument they want to learn how to use. They practice that instrument minimum twice a week. One plays the tin whistle, another guitar and two plays keyboard.
One of our children take part in singing lessons through her drama school. Another attends musical dance through evening youth school, where she will take part in a final show.
We study as many musicals, that time allows us. We go to see as many operas and ballets economically possible for us. We introduce the children to a wide range of classical music from different time periods. Every day we listen to music from different historical and genre points of view. We talk about that period in time and how this music may have come about, how it was received and read about the artists lives. We also visit the music museum and have a guided tour.
A taste of our literature for the year in the subject Music:
A selection of Danish classical song books.
The Clarke Tin Whistle song book.
Vi spiller klaver 1.
Hov hov, musik for sjov.
Aura for Laura.
Søde ord sangbogen, Alkalær.
Læs nu løs sangbogen, Alkalær.
In the subject Art, we do a lot of trips and workshops:
We visit Rudolf Tegners museum and take part in a clay workshop there.
We go to Louisiana museum and have a tour for children of the Wang Shu architecture exhibition.
We visit the Louise Bourgeois exhibition at Louisiana and watch movies about her life and talk about how we understand her art, each of us.
We go to Charlottenborg Art Hall and see the exhibition by Ai Wei Wei and John Kørner and more artists.
We go to Rundetårn and see the New Scandinavian Exhibition.
We visit Perspective Playground in Øksnehallen offered by Olympus.
The oldest daughter visits the Crafts Fair in Rødovre with mum.
The oldest daughter has an internship with a shop/artist who creates and sells mosaik.
The second oldest daughter dresses up to take part in role play workshop in the forest.
The second oldest daughter takes part in a theatre workshop through Gabriel Jensens ferierejser at Enghavevej AFUK Remisen.
We organize a play/Circus/musical of the children’s choice in our garden, together with other home schoolers who are interested in making such a project.
Here is a selection of our art and crafts done at home:
We experiment with Fimo clay.
We create plays and perform with our puppet theatre.
The children design and create their own Fastelavn costume, with help from mum.
We host a Fastelavns party at our house where all Home Schoolers are invited and welcome to take part. We are usually around 45 people.
The children write, direct and film their own ideas for movies.
The children paint acrylic and water Colour on canvases.
Mum teaches own children + interested home schooled children in art, colour and painting at our house.
We talk about different artist we come across on our way in life.
Mum teaches the children to Croche.
Mum teaches the children Needle felting.
Mum teaches the children embroidery.
Mum teaches the children to sew by hand and by machine.
Mum teaches the children to knit.
We make house and caves out of card board boxes.
We make dolls and animals out of straw.
The oldest daughter designs, pattern cut and sew her own Harry Potter cape.
The second oldest daughter sews a selection of bags.
The second oldest daughter also develops her own skills in weaving beads by hand, into purses and other accessories.
The second oldest daughter builds a Barbie bed, together with dad.
The youngest daughter sews a pair of shorts for herself on the sewing machine.
In the subject Natural Science, we do a lot of trips and workshops. Here is a selection of them:
Trip to Faxe Kalkbrud (Limestone quarry) and Faxe Geological museum.
Visited the Radio Museum in Ringsted.
Visited a blueberry plantation.
Went to Møns Klint and looked at the geological biotope.
The whole family went together to a Maker Space event, where everyone got the chance to try their hands on different kinds of electronic workshops.
Annual membership of Eksperimentarium, where we will visit once a week.
Went to lecture at Vartov on Spacetime.
Went to lecture at the Geological Museum on Fossils.
Visited the MS Museum of maritime in Elsinore.
Visited the Technical Museum in Elsinore several times and at one time we met Vincent Ceremet there and he told us himself about his life and the machines he has invented.
Annual visit to Roskilde cattle show.
Went to Kvæsthusbroen and saw a huge rescue exercise with helicopters, divers, life guards and submarine.
Visited Mosetræf in Utterslev Mose. A big nature celebration, with nature advisors and many activities for children, like fishing, examining edible plants in the area and shooting with bow and arrow.
Went on a sailing trip on Furesø, with a locally arranged 1½ hour trip around the whole lake.
Went camping in Hornbæk.
Visited the Zoo several times.
Trip to London mum and the oldest daughter, where they visited English friends, the Science Museum and China Town.
Here is a selection of our Natural Science done at home:
The Children learn how to use OpenScad/Tinkercad with dad and then use it to design objects they want to print on a 3D printer.
We have/buy a large selection of chemistry and physics set, which we carry out together.
we do a large number of physics and chemistry experiments at home.
We play memory games, backgammon, card games and much more to practice our logic thinking.
We analyse basic things we do around the house like cooking an egg, making porridge, turning on the cooker (gas), lighting a bonfire and sort them into chemistry and physic reactions and processes.
We have a bonfire in the garden where we cook our food, when we feel like it.
The children write their own cookbook, where they write down the recipes they like the most or use the most.
The children plant seeds and watch them grow in the garden. We are all responsible for our vegetable garden and take turns on removing weeds, watering and harvesting.
We study the insects in our garden.
We make a large number of electronic projects together as a family, with dad as the teacher. We make circuits.
We study the periodic table. Talk and read about the chemical elements, atoms and molecules.
We do the Ørsted and Faraday coil experiment on electromagnetism.
We test magnetism with iron filings moving in patterns when exposed to magnetism.
We teach the children to program in Scratch, HTML and Java.
The three oldest children completed the Pirana series in Geography and biology.
We own a children lexicon from the publisher Lademann, which the children sit on their own and read in when they feel like it. It tells about how our world works – electricity, water, heating and much much more.
We bake and cook together and talk about the ingredients and the chemical processes.
We read and talk about the different continents. Go through the different countries, culture, traditions, size, population, climate, industry and history.
A taste of our literature for the year in the subject Natural Science:
Max Wainewright, Sådan koder du, Lær computerprogrammering trin for trin.
Din bog om naturvidenskab, Politikens forlag.
Naturskolens vilde dyr.
Dine fantastiske sanser.
En meget kort historie om næsten alt, Bill Bryson.
Health, Sex Education and Family Knowledge
In the subject Health, Sex Education and Family Knowledge, we do a lot of trips and workshops. Here is a selection of them:
Visit to the Healthy Lifestyle Fair at Øksnehallen, Copenhagen.
First Aid course/workshop at Vigerslev bibliotek, Valby.
The children have their teeth cleaned and checked at the main dentist school in Copenhagen, where we have the opportunity to ask questions and acquire professional knowledge of dental care.
The children goes with their mother to the dentist and the dentist allows the children to sit next to her and learn about dental care.
Here is a selection of our teaching in Health, Sex Education and Family Knowledge at home:
Talk about periods and pregnancy.
Talk about birth control.
We practice teeth brushing on a model of the teeth.
We tell about dental care and tooth replacement for adult teeth.
A taste of our literature and other material for the year on the subject Health, Sex Education and Family Knowledge:
Sådan får man et barn, Borgens Forlag, Per Holm Knudsen.
A huge selection of books about how the body works.
models of different parts of the body.
model of the teeth.
Din fantastiske krop, Steve Parker.
Iwona Radunz, Thomas Röhner, Min rokketand – alt om dine mælketænder.
Tandsylvanien, faktabog om dine tænder.
Menneskekroppen, anatomi, fysiologi og sygdomme, Steve Parker
Educational, business and labor market orientation
We talk about which professions our friends and acquaintances have. When we come in contact with different professions, we talk about how a daily life would look like with this education/experience, and how to reach such an education and life.
Every year we take part in a christmas market, where the children have a stall where they sell home made crafts. They learn about math, production, advertising, salesmanship this way.
Our oldest daughter will take part in open day at different high schools she is interested in continuing her education at. She will also take part in “high school pupil for a day” where she is a part of an ordinary day at a high school.
When we go shopping or are in public spaces, we analyse advertising methods, what the employees do, how the spaces are adapted to their use and how well it works.
The two oldest children has a newspaper round that they manage themselves and sort out all the challenges this may involve. We work towards the children trying different paying jobs. Until now, they have tried delivering newspapers and advertisements. The oldest child has tried babysitting. The oldest child has also looked after chicken. The oldest child also cleans a near by airbnb with mum, once in a while.
All of our children has a few ideas to what direction of work they would like to do for a living. So we try to investigate those directions and make profession related trips.
In the subject History, we do a lot of trips and workshops. Here is a selection of them:
Visit to Charlottenlund Fort and Charlottenlund castle.
Regular visits to the National Museum in Copenhagen.
Regular visits to the Workers Museum in Copenhagen.
Participate in different School tours of Glyptoteket, with other home schoolers.
Visit to Frilandsmuseet.
Participate in different School Tours of Tivoli, with other home schoolers.
Visit to Esrum Kloster.
Visit to Fredensborg Lokalhistorisk Museum.
Visit to the Historical War Festival at Vestvolden.
Tour by cycle taxi from Kongens Nytorv to the little mermaid and past Amalienborg Castle.
Visit to the Prison Museum (vestre fængsel).
Visit to the Tram Museum (Sporvejs museet).
The History lessons we do at home, is taught with all the pupils together. We use a large selection of material on history, but are very fond of Nils Hartmann, and have gone through most of his books. The older children read a lot of history books on their own, but together we sit down and read aloud a chapter, then talk about the text, look up more information on the internet and look for geographical information on our map. The children take down notes on the information received.
A taste of our literature and other material for the year on the subject History:
Børnenes Verdenshistorie, Nils Hartmann.
Børnenes Danmarkshistorie, Nils Hartmann.
Hvem bestemmer i Danmark, Nils Hartmann.
We teach English, German, Spanish, Chinese and Latin every week. We also gain knowledge and understanding of Swedish and Norwegian. The children are very fond of languages and like to get a general knowledge of different grammatical structures. English and German is our basis and the rest of the languages is taught on request from the children.
A taste of our literature and other material for the year on the subject Languages (we use the relevant school level books):
For english we use Let’s do it, Forlaget Delta, Great inventions, The Lives of Einstein, Myths in 30 seconds, Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy, The adventures of Lulu, The sly fox, Sleeping Beauty, The little Mermaid, Adventures in famous Places.
For German we use Gut Gemacht, Forlaget Delta, Pirana, Hansi Hase und der goldene topf and Goofy und das verwunschene Schloss.
For Spanish we use Pirana and Duolingo.
For Chinese we use Kinesisk sprog.dk, Chineasy, Chineasy flash cards and Chinese fridge magnets. We also test our Chinese on our local Chinese speaking shop owner near by.
For Latin we use Cambridge Latin Book 1 on the internet, Fabula and Learning Latin Through Mythology.
For Swedish and Norwegian we visited friends in Norway. We also read Mio min mio in Swedish.
In general, the starting point in our home school is, that all questions must be answered. Especially questions about society and how it works, is important to get answered right away and get information and sources searched so that children can form their own opinion about what is happening around them. Source criticism and searching through many different sources are very important to us, in order for them to find their own individual understanding of society.
We try to involve the children in elderly people’s lives in Denmark by visiting nursing homes and grandparents to learn tolerance towards people who do no longer have the same abilities as themselves. Once a year the children take part in a fashion show in a nursing home, where mum teaches in sewing. The pupils go on the catwalk and show the work they have produced throughout the year.
We look at different political points of view. Try to understand the different medias view, seem from the political ideology they represent. We always try to research news stories from many sources and then discuss them together.
We look at politics in Denmark, the EU and the rest of the world. We look at living conditions in Denmark and compare it to the rest of the World. We look at working conditions in Denmark and the rest of the world. We look at feminism in Denmark and abroad.
We talk about wars in the world right now and read about them in the newspapers and other media. We also talk about the refuge challenges. We read about different structures of society, like royalty, dictatorship and democracy.
We discuss the justice system in Denmark and compare it to the rest of the world. We talk about poverty and wealth.
We talk about social norm, and how it shapes and affects a population.
We discuss environmental aspects and how we look after the Earth.
A taste of our literature and other material for the year on the subject Social Science:
To make our German lessons come alive, we made an appointment with the librarian at the Goethe Institute in Copenhagen to come and have a guided tour. We were shown around the library and told about the many free offers they have on their website for everyone to learn German. It was really very inspiring and showed the children the living world of German language and culture, and not just a book in front of them.
1 year ago our oldest daughter started writing a musical. After 6 months she had completed the the manuscript. During the writing, she had already knowledge of who would likely we taking part in the musical as actors.
We got a team together and started meeting up 3 hours every second week. We started out with designing the costumes, and making them. My oldest daughter wrote the lyrics for the songs and my second oldest daughter put together the choreography.
We then started practicing the songs, the acting and the dancing. We made a poster and started getting an audience together who would like to see it.
On the day, we also held a bazar with different stalls. We calculated the prices together with the children and break even for the things on sale.
It was a great learning experience for the children and the grown ups.
In der Heimschule der Familie Schou in Dänemark steht nicht nur der klassische Lernstoff auf dem Programm. Die Kinder lernen auch beim Gemüseeinkauf, im Garten oder beim Lesen von Manga-Comics. Und wer eine Pause braucht, geht aufs Trampolin.
Es ist 10 Uhr morgens und in der Heimschule der Familie Schou, wie sie sie selbst nennen, ist es ganz still. Die vier Kinder sind vertieft in ihre jeweiligen Tätigkeiten. Weil sie mit dem Lernstoff für dieses Schuljahr fast fertig sind, dürfen die Kinder an diesem Vormittag selbst entscheiden, womit sie sich beschäftigen.
Die 15 Jahre alte Martha zeichnet Fantasiewesen, die 12-jährige Edith bastelt an einer Tasche aus Plastikperlen, die 11-jährige Dagmar liest einen japanischen Comic. Der Jüngste, Hjalmar, schreibt Wörter in eine Reihe. Er ist sechs Jahre alt. Seine Lieblingsbeschäftigung in der Schule sei es, in seinem Arbeitsheft Wörter mit den dazugehörigen Bildern zu verbinden, erzählt er. In welche Klasse er gehe, wisse er nicht.
Mutter Vibeke Schou sitzt auch mit am Tisch, hält sich aber im Hintergrund. Die Entscheidung, die Kinder zu Hause zu unterrichten, trafen sie und ihr Mann, als ihre älteste Tochter eingeschult werden sollte.
Die Begeisterung der Kinder fürs Lernen bewahren
„Mein Mann und ich erinnerten uns an unsere Schulzeit. Und die war nicht immer rosig. Entweder musste man auf die anderen warten und langweilte sich, oder man hinkte so weit hinterher, dass man total verloren war. Ich sah mir 10 bis 20 Schulen in der Umgebung an und suchte nach einer, die ich selbst jeden Tag besuchen wollte. Diese Schule gab es nicht.
Unser Ansatz ist, dass Lernen ein großartiges Geschenk ist und wir wollen die Begeisterung in unseren Kindern bewahren. Viele Kinder freuen sich ja auf ihren ersten Schultag und darauf, etwas zu lernen. Und dann wird diese Begeisterung nach und nach ausgelöscht.“
Frau und mehrere Kinder schauen auf einen Bildschirm. (Miriam Arndts)Ihre Doppelrolle als Mutter und Lehrerin empfindet Vibeke Schou als völlig natürlich. (Miriam Arndts)
Seit zehn Jahren unterrichtet Vibeke Schou ihre Kinder zu Hause, während ihr Mann arbeitet. Abends macht er mit den Kindern manchmal physikalische und elektronische Experimente, während die ausgebildete Schneiderin Nähkurse an der Volkshochschule gibt.
Ihre Doppelrolle als Mutter und Lehrerin empfindet Vibeke Schou als völlig natürlich. „Bei uns ist es ein bisschen so, wie es zu Beginn der Menschheit war: Die Mutter bringt den Kindern das bei, was sie fürs Leben brauchen. Für mich ist Unterrichten und Muttersein ein und dasselbe.“
Bei Familie Schou klingelt keine Pausenglocke
Hjalmar ist inzwischen in den Garten gelaufen, wo er auf einem riesigen Trampolin hüpft. Das macht er, wenn er nicht mehr still sitzen kann, erklärt seine große Schwester Martha. Bei Familie Schou klingelt keine Pausenglocke. Die Kinder nehmen sich ihre Pause, wenn sie sie brauchen.
Die Zweitjüngste, Dagmar, erzählt, dass sie gerne mal ausprobieren wollte, wie es ist, in eine normale Schule zu gehen. Also begleitete sie einen Freund einen Tag lang in die vierte Klasse. Es war sehr laut, sagt sie. Zu Hause könne man die anderen bitten, leise zu sein, wenn man sich konzentrieren müsse. Hier habe man außerdem mehr Zeit, sagt die 11-Jährige. Diesen Eindruck hat sie vermutlich auch, weil nur ein Bruchteil des Heimschul-Alltages klassischer Unterricht mit Stillsitzen ist.
„Bei uns zu Hause ist ja rund um die Uhr Unterricht. Wenn wir im Supermarkt sind, frage ich die Kinder: Welche Möhren sind hier das beste Angebot? Auch wenn wir im Garten sind, lernen wir die ganze Zeit und das ganze Jahr über. Wenn wir einen Regenwurm finden, dann gehen wir rein und lesen was über Regenwürmer. Dann sagen wir nicht: Das machen wir jetzt nicht, weil Sommerferien sind.“
Der Wechsel an die öffentliche Schule steht bevor
Dagmar ist mittlerweile ihrem kleinen Bruder aufs Trampolin gefolgt. Ein Junge und zwei Mädchen tauchen am Gartentor auf. Hjalmar hüpft vor Freude noch höher. Damit ihre Kinder genügend soziale Kontakte haben, lädt Vibeke Schou oft andere Kinder zu sich nach Hause ein.
Diese drei Geschwister werden auch zu Hause unterrichtet. Deswegen ist es völlig normal für sie, sich nach kurzem Spiel im Garten mit an den Tisch zu setzen und Marthas Referat über das Weltall zu lauschen. Es geht unter anderem um den Urknall, der allen hier ein Begriff zu sein scheint, und um den dänischen Astronomen Tycho Brahe. Dagmar und Edith machen sich Notizen und heben den Finger, wenn sie Fragen haben.
Hjalmar hat sich auf den Schoß seiner Mutter gemogelt und hört gespannt zu. Auch er meldet sich: Er glaube nicht, dass Aliens Ufos bauen können, sagt er. Martha ist ganz seiner Meinung. Keiner macht sich über seine Bemerkung lustig.
Martha fängt im August in der zehnten Klasse einer öffentlichen Schule an und möchte im Jahr darauf an ein naturwissenschaftliches Gymnasium wechseln. Vielleicht werde sie Schriftstellerin, sagt Martha. Sie habe angefangen, alle Experimente, die sie machen, zu notieren, um daraus lustige Geschichten zu schreiben, von denen andere Kinder etwas lernen können. Vielleicht werde sie aber auch Astronomin.
When we started out home schooling, we had a goal to create a community of home schoolers for our children. We wanted to create an environment, that showed our children that they were not alone. We wanted to show them that it is OK to live your life in different ways. That it actually makes life more interesting.
So we started looking for other home schoolers in Denmark. 10 years ago there were only 200 registered home schooled children and we could only find 3 families on the internet, that replied to us contacting them. So they invited us to a monthly meeting, where they met up at the National Museum in Copenhagen. There was a sunday activity there for children, which we took part in and then we went to the school room where you were allowed to eat your lunch. After we went to the children museum, where the children could play together. After a while the meetings kind of dissolved and we had a few times where we were the only home schoolers showing up. So we thought it was time for a new initiative.
One of our friends then started doing home school meetings montly at their house. Everybody who was an active home schooler or aspiring to be, was welcome. We took part in those meetings and at one point our friend asked us to do every second of those meetings at our house. So we started sharing the arrangement of those meetings. Our friend then at some point didn’t want to make the meetings at their house and I took over all of them. They grew. Often we would count 45 people at our house and something had to be done to fit in all those people.
As we had been scouts for many years at a nature cabin owned by the state, we had been offered to take a user certificate to the cabin. That meant that we could book the cabin for nature arrangements for home schoolers. So we started having our meetings there. There was a lot of space, things you could do, set up bonfires and make food, go fishing, climb trees. All good ways to build new relationships and help new home schoolers get started.
Having these meetings took a lot of effort and we still have them, but now only around 4 times a year. That works really well. The cabin have space for 80 people. Usually we are around 5-15 families.
All these initiatives that we have made, has helped our children feel part of a group and that they have a group to relate to. It has also been heart warming to help so many people get started through the years. It is always nice to be able to help other people.
We also were part of a new up and coming free school in Denmark, that friends of ours started. Our kids went there once a week to play with their friends. I arranged all the seasonal events and also did a monthly teaching day at the school in different subjects. At one point the school grew so big that it was not in our interest to continue and we moved all our seasonal arrangement to our own garden and invited all the home schoolers that we knew.
We have also taken part in a playgroup at a local church for 9 years, where the person in charge was very open to home schoolers and mixed age groups. She took us in and we changed that playgroup from 2-6 year old to 0-15 year old mixing with each other in full harmony.
All of these initiatives that we have made during the years, has helped grow a strong homeschooling network in Denmark. We want to inspire others to do the same. It is a great way to get playmates and create an envirenment where home schooling is the norm.
We still have these meetings, as we probably will be homeschooling for 10 more years. We post the dates on facebook in relevant groups.