Esrum Monastery is a great place to visit and learn about the reformation in many different hands on ways. There is a game room, where you can play a game where you can choose to represent or support the church or the king. Then you play against each others teams and learn about the different influences and powers which ruled then.
It is also situated in very beautiful surroundings. There is a large playground and a medicinal garden.
As a child I really loved to play with Barbie dolls. It was an amazing universe for me. I build houses and made clothes for my dolls. Actually it was my start into learning to sew. I keept most of my dolls and their accessories until I got children of my own. When they were old enough, they were allowed to play with them.
My children has continued the fondness for Barbie and I get so happy when I see them play. When we found out that Lene Darlie Pedersen had collected more than 4000 dolls, we had to go see her amazing museum. http://barbiemuseum.dk/
The dolls shows fashion through the past 50 years and Barbies development. The owner took us through the exhibition on a personal tour, where we could ask questions and was also allowed to have a look around on our own at the end of our visit. It was truly amazing.
The owner had started out collecting porcelain dolls, but found they were too expensive. But Barbie was affordable, so she could add new dolls to her collection frequently.
People often ask us to tell about a typical home school day. So here we go. The main thing about home schooling, is that there is no such thing, as a typical day/week. You have the freedom to have a new plan everyday. But for us, there is a need to have a plan and the security of repetition.
Many years ago our oldest daughter asked to have a weekly schedule put up on the wall every week, so she would know what our plans were. So every week I make a new schedule and put up Sunday evening. Some things will continue to be on the schedule for a long time and others, are only one of events.
The subjects on the schedule is a mix of adult and child wishes. I have chosen that they do general subjects that keep their learning above public school level, so it would be easy academically to enter a public school, if we no longer are able to home school. But also to prepare them for high school or other later education of their choice. Then the children have chosen to have additional subjects, like Spanish, Latin and Chinese. Subjects and how often we have them can vary on our schedule. We can also have weeks where we do project work intensively.
Well, back to a typical day. Let’s start with today. Today we had a day at home. We try to ballance days out of the house and days at home. We often get to plan too much, especially trips and activities out of the house. That often leaves us exhausted and longing for a day at home to get back our energy and catch up on basic stuff. We also really like to get good food and to have time to eat. As a general rule, we try to stay at home in the daytime every second day.
We usually get up at around 7 am-8 am. Then we all do our chores, do our exercises and positive confirmations. The kids empty the dishwasher, they put away any clean dry laundry, they open the windows and air out the house to start of with a fresh oxygen filled house. In the evening I have put their books ready on the table, so they can start working when they are dressed and have done their personal hygiene. I hang up any wet laundry to dry and put on the washing machine with a new load. Then I do my exercises, while the kids do their individual schoolwork like math, Danish, English and German. I go to and from my exercises to help them when they get stuck and so goes the time until around 9 am-9:30. Then I usually get time to get dressed and get ready. I make breakfast, alone or with a kid who needs a break from school work. Then we sit down together and eat.
We usually then do our common school work. That is the rest of the subjects, mentioned above. Today we did biology, Latin and biology project.
I prepared bread in the kitchen while they worked on the Latin exercises, and then corrected them together with them.
Then the children worked on a movie for their youtube channel, while I prepared lunch together with the smallest child in the kitchen.
Then we watched their work on the computer while eating, and decided on redoing it after eating. So we shot another section of the movie, until we were happy with the result.
Then the youngest child and I made a beetroot chocolate cake in the kitchen, while the oldest child edited the movie together and worked on her musical as well. The two middle children sewed on their costumes for a dance show they are planning.
Then we were expecting two good friends to come over for a sleepover, but unfortunately they had gotten the flu, so we had to eat the cake on our own. Don’t worry friends, if you read this, we will make a new one for you.
The at 3 pm we have quiet time until 4 pm. At that time you can do what you want to do – play on the computer, watch movies, talk to your friends on the phone, read, play outside or go where your imagination takes you. I meditate and drink tea.
Today we have a quiet evening. No spare time activities or work. We all enjoy having our meals together and being able to talk and relax in the evening with a movie or game together. The kids often work on creative projects in the evening, writing, sewing, knitting or drawing. They often also just play and make lots of noise and play music and dance.
So how does a typical week look?
A general example of our weekly schedule could look like this:
The subjects at the bottom has stayed the same for a while, because it work well. We have a language a day, as the kids like languages. We have math and danish three days a week, because they got fed up with having it every day. We finish our books already in april every year anyway, so we manage to do enough work anyway, to be ahead of general curriculum. My work is on the schedule, so the kids know when I am not at home in the evening or daytime. The childrens newspaper route is also on the schedule, so we are able to make everything work out with the time we have available. Creative subjects are not on the schedule, as they are present in most things we do, and they infiltrate most other subjects. Project on thursday and friday is a new thing we are trying after the kids started a knowledge based youtube channel called : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2ECOh462jxQraolPZ53evw
At the middle of the schedule you see events that vary from week to week, like playdates, trips, hobbies, meetings and so on. The kids attend different sparetime activities outside the house like physics and chemistry, drama and ballet. They figure on the schedule on and off, when they have their seasons.
The weekend is also included, as we often go on educational trips together as a family in the weekend or visit friends and family.
Next week will be the winter holiday. Originally, when starting out home schooling, we did not separate school and spare time, but we have found that we have a need to do this. So we now have the same holidays as schools. The difference is just that we do not do the usual subjects, but mostly do trips and project work. This winter holiday we will work intensively on costumes, painting the barrel and go pick branches for our fastelavn celebrations. We are so looking forward!
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.
After having lived out the Iron Age two times (Our Iron Age experience). The children started talking about wanting to try living as Vikings in Sagnlandet Lejre. It was a bit more expensive than the Iron Age trip, but included a bit more survival luxury, like having trips arranged for us and more staff to help us. We even sometimes had help cooking our food over the fire. Included, was also a trip on a vikingship in Roskilde ￼Inlet. Also a 1½ hour horse carriage trip around Lejre. In the mornings the staff did story telling around the fire, and that was so much fun. There was also many craft opportunities. We did tin jewellery over the fire, Straw dolls, carved spoons and knives, dyed wool and spun yarn with it, forged kitchen equipment and knives.
The whole family were equipped with Viking outfits, which we wore the whole week.
We sleept 6 people in this tent. It was very little space, but waterproof.
Our youngest son enjoyed the outdoor freedom.
Every day, we had 1 hour fighting strategy training.
There was time to chill out with a knitting project.
There were goats right by our tent, and the children liked to drop by and feed and pad them.
There were blacksmith facilities and you had to work together to make a knife.
One evening we were attacked by the nearby Iron Age inhabitants and challenged to a burping duel. We lost. But the next evening we took revenge! We had a bulls horn that we had gotten quite good at blowing in. So we won, this time.
Sailing in a Viking Ship in Roskilde .
Our oldest daughter is very fond of languages and particular Antiquity and the Viking Age. So when one of the employees said he could teach her runes, she was very exited.
That is the horn we won over the Iron Age people with 🙂
The main difference we experienced between the Iron Age and the Viking Age, was the improvement in the cut of the clothes, better weapon, better knives in the kitchen and it seemed that they generally had become better trade Merchants.
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.
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.
Well, history is everything. 1 second ago is history. The dinosaurs are history, our favorite music is history. History is how we learn to understand the present. How we learn to deal with the future. In our home school we learn about history in multiple ways. Often it is through interdisciplinary studies, where two or more subjects are mixed together in the learning process. Most history lessons are spend on trips to museums, but we do also teach classical history lessons around the table every week. At the moment we teach from a Nils Hartmann book called “The History of Danish Kings and Queens written for Children”. Usually the children listen to me read aloud from the book and then they take notes and we talk about the written piece and calculate the age of the King and other people mentioned. We also try to relate that time period to today and also look up different things we want to know more about or don’t understand. When we finish a book we start another one, the choice is based on what we find interesting or what time period we have not covered yet. Some times we have guest pupils from other home schools, who take part in our joined age group lessons. The picture below is from a recent trip to Jutland, Århus, where we visited one of the childrens favorite museums, “The Old Town in Århus”. We love museums where you really can interact with the exhibitions and “live” the period.