We have been homeschooling for 13 years now in Denmark’s capital – Copenhagen. Recently we moved out into the countryside. This has made me want to write a piece on, how where you are situated, when you Home School, affects your children’s learning.
Generally I would say that it doesn’t matter where you are located, it depends on your set of mind, how well your home school works. But your location does give you different opportunities. It is how open and how well, you are able to grasp these opportunities that matters.
When you Home School in the city, you often have theaters, libraries, playgrounds, other Home Schoolers, spare-time activities and museums near by.
When you live in the country you have nature near by, more space for creative projects, opportunities to keep animals, less distractions and you can be self-sufficient. Often people around you have more time to talk to you and you can develop close relationships with you neighbors.
Generally learning and Home Schooling is all about grasping the opportunities that come along in life. Keeping a positive outlook and trying to get the best out of life. Remembering that learning is not just for children aged a specific age – but that you learn from the day you are born until the day that you leave this earth. Hopefully. What gives life meaning is all the time learning and understanding new about being alive and what it is all about. Moving a bit around is refreshing and can renew your understanding of life.
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.
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.
We are doing a series of Religious visits and experiences at the moment. Most religions are very friendly, and invites us into their community, to tell about their beliefs. Today we were invited to visit the Ba Hai community in Hellerup, Denmark.
Ba Hai is a new religion and springs from the Muslim belief, but instead of believing that Mohammed is the prophet, they believe that there has been a new prophet 200 years ago called Bahá’u’lláh.
They believe that all the religions of the world actually is one religion and have one common god.
During our visit we were allowed to take part in a ceremony. Then we had a guided tour, where we talked about their beliefs and values. Then we had lunch together. In the end the children was given different texts, which they read together and then talked about.
Ba Hai has a large community in India and in Africa (Congo particularly). They have 4 large religious monuments in the world.
Once a year you can go meet the Sikhs in Denmark on the main public square. They call it Turban Day. You can get free food, try getting tied a turban on your head, listen to music and ask in general about the religion.
We find that it is a great way to get hands on experience of the different religions practiced around the world. To go out and meet the people who live by the rules of different religions and are willing to tell about it.
To be a parent, means to be a role model for your children. Being the one to dare try new things, like going forward and trying on a turban, can be one of those things. But also being able to accept that the children find it quite enough just looking at you doing new silly things, is a parent job.
After life is always interesting to talk with the children about.
Religion often can be tied to different languages too. So language can also have a great influence on religions, which can be interesting to talk with the children about.
Where is the religion practiced geographically? Another area of learning, when you are dealing with religion.
Educational lecture on the Jews in Denmark, during the Second World War. This was our first visit to the Jewish Museum in Denmark. It was a pleasant experience with dedicated staff. They opened the museum just for us. The building was made to simulate the travels of the Jews and the persecution of the Jews through time. The floors was uneven to make you feel seasick, as most of the Jews in Denmark escaped the concentration camps, by being shipped to Sweden by little fisherman boats.
The Jews in Denmark was never made to wear the famous star, but it still was quite a sickening feeling to hold a real one in your hand.
99% of the Danish Jews managed to escape to Sweden or hide in Denmark. But the ones that got caught, was sent to the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp. It was a propaganda Concentration Camp where a part of it was a studio made to record how great life was in the Concentration Camps.
In the Concentration Camps they were paid monopoly money for their work. They had no real value.
When we first started out Home Schooling 1st of April 2009, one of our intentions was to follow the children interests as much as possible. For history, geography and social science, that meant taking a lot of interest in
indigenous peoples and past cultures. Particular Native American, Eskimos, Asian and Egyptian culture. The project shown, is a tipi that we build out of 4 poles, 4 meters long and a half circle that we sewed and painted to complete a huge tipi in our garden. We also designed and made Native American costumes for the children to live out their Native American dream. We had this tipi for many years in our garden. It is my largest sewing project until now.
When we have Religion on the weekly schedule, we mainly look at christianity, as the main Religion in Denmark has been Christianity since around year 1000. Christianity is also mentioned in the constitution, and is a part of the state, as long as more than 50 % of the population decide to be members. At the moment around 77% are members. It is also the basis of my familys culture and history. So I read aloud the bible for the children and they draw something that relates to the piece we are reading. The book we use also looks at the Historical and Geographical aspect of the bible. Then at the end of the text, we discuss the meaning of that piece. We also do many field trips to visit other religious arrangement when available to us.
Many people ask us if we do traditional lessons, where we are seated around a table and learn together through books. Yes we do. One example is Geography. We have tried to make a video that illustrates an example of one of our lessons.