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.
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.
2 months ago we found some moldy bread in the kitchen. Great opportunity to make it grow. Immediately we found a name for it – Bob. So Bob was put into a plastic bag and given a place to live in our kitchen, where he could develop in peace and in a non stressful environment. So we have been looking at him once in a while the past 2 months. This is what he looks like now.
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.
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.
We have a channel on youtube called “Videnskanalen”. We have for a long time been thinking about making a channel, with knowledge based videos, made by children.
The first movies are biology themes, but that may evolve over time. The first movie theme was about the Sea Cucumber. The next about Octopus. Now we have made one on the Corn Snake, as we have just bought one for our daughter.
We like fire. All sorts of fire. As long as it is real old fashioned fire. We attended scouts for 5 years with the kids, in reflection, I think just to sit at a bonfire and stare into the flames. We love starring into a bonfire and feeling the warmth. No thoughts in our brains. It is relaxing. Meditative. It is so lovely simple and primitive. Still so fascinating and magic. A chemical reaction and pure energy.
When we suddenly realized that we could just make a bonfire in our garden, we stopped being scouts and continued the fire love in our garden. The smell is also wonderful. When you have made any kind of food over the fire or just sat next to a bonfire you smell wonderfully of bonfire. For many days. Your clothes keep the smell for weeks.
We have done a lot of cooking experiments over fire and other things too, but lets try to focus on the food things for now. Our favorite is pancakes and fried bacon.
Today we held a gathering for Home Schoolers in the celebration of Christmas. We had a market for the kids to sell their home made crafts and our oldest daughter had been given the job of selling and frying pancakes over the large bonfire. We held the event at a Nature Cottage owned by the borough. They have 2 large bonfire places.
Then my husband had been reading about how soldiers can make a Dakota Fire Pitt, which is a bonfire buried in the ground. The effectiveness of this fire is that you dig 2 holes next to each other and make an air canal between the two to make a ventilation duct. That reduces the smoke and visibility from afar of the bonfire. You can then get heat and cook food without being found by the enemy.
So today was the day and he made one. It turned out really fine and worked.
August, 2011 we went for the first time to live one week in Sagnlandet Lejre, as they did in the Iron Age. We had 3 children at that time, and they were 7, 4 and 3 years old. I thought it could be great history lessons, learning by living as they did then. The village was build to fit the time period 200 B.C. until 200 A.C. When we first arrived we were given clothes as they would have been worn then. So we put all our present things away and lived with one outfit for the rest of the week. We also put away our phones and computers for a week.
There were 4 houses in the village and we were 4 families living together there in the village. We had no running water og electricity. We were given food to prepare every day, and everything had to be cooked over a fire or in an oven which took hours to heat up. We had no watches, so had to start estimating time in a new way.
We had a ritual area where we did a sacrifice while there, as they would have done in the iron age.
There was a lot of animals loose the area and the children got used to walk near them.
We had a witch doctor who would walk around in the local area with us and teach us which plants could be eaten and we picked them and put them in our food.
More animals. Most of the animals they keep at Sagnlandet, are original breeds that can be traced back to the iron age. These are wild pigs.
We did yarn dying with natural colours, picked in the area. We dyed yarn from the local sheep. We then spun it and made belts.
We made sushi from salmon and then smoked the rest over the fire.
Lovely to spend your time watching the fire at night.
The small kids LOVED the outside toilet 🙂
The geese and the wasps pestered us quite a bit, but was also a part of the real life experience of the iron age. This holiday has meant a lot to our children. It but a lot of the things we do today in our life, into perspective. Brought out our grateful side for having running water, water closet, hot showers, a potato pealer and so on. When we talk about history now, they often say “is that before or after the iron age, mum?”. We actually repeated our trip to the iron age 2 years later. In 2017 we went there again, but then to their viking site, but more will follow later in a new post about that experience.
We have combined the children’s interest in making movies with their interest in biology. This is our second movie in our series of biology themes they have chosen. They have made the movie on their own. As a parent, I have only contributed with the advise on ideas and helped with the planning of their time spend on the project. The project didn’t really happen, until we put the project on our weekly schedule. They had to have a set time to work on it. Like an author, sometimes needs to set himself a set time where he works on a book. Then things started to happen.
Octopuses is an amazing category of sea animals. There are 800 different species, and they are split into 5 categories:
10- armed octopuses.
Vampire Octopus from hell.
5 species. It has a shell. No ink. Can get up to 20 years old. Has 90 tentacles without suction cups. Found around Australia and in the Pacific ocean.
300 species. Spine of cartilage. Can swim very fast. More than half of them light in the dark. 13 species in Denmark. One of the 10-armed species is the kolos octopus. It is the largest octopus found. It can be up to 10 meters long and weigh 500 kg. It can put up quite a fight with sperm whales who likes to eat them. It has eyes the size of a football.
Spits poison. Can get through very small gaps. Very soft, apart from their beak. Can change colour and shape. Can let go of an arm and regrow it. Can get up to 5 years old. Very strong- can lift up to 33 kg. Clever brain.
120 species. The chameleon of the sea. Can change colour and shape. Has an inside shell. They are cannibals. Has 10 arms. Usually get 1-2 years old.
Vampire squid from hell.
Likes to be on its own. It has light cells, so it can choose where on the body it want to light. Around 28 cm long. Turns inside out, and shows some spikes it has on the inside. That makes it seem invisible. It shoots off blue slime which lights up. Lives at 1 km depth.