I caught my oldest trying to explain to our youngest about how fractions work the other day. A moment of intensity and joy. A child happy to share knowledge and a child eager to learn from the older, full of respect. I love these moments that jump out of conversations we have, and turn into very motivated learning.
Making learning come alive, with real life challenges, is high priority in our home school. Learning about numbers and being able to count, makes sense when you get pocket money and want to see if you have saved more than your siblings. High motivation.
Studying an area and then making a lecture in front of an audience, is a good way to learn about a subject and making the knowledge stick in your mind. We use that as a general way of learning. The children choose a subject, then study it and then tell about it.
When we want to summarize what we have learned or a subject is hard for us to remember, we make posters. Our whole house is full of them. It is also a good way to easily look up formulas or grammar during teaching. The younger kids also benefit, they walk by and read about what they find interesting. Then we get a chance to talk with them about new areas.
At the end of the year each of our kids make a poster with the different areas they have learned about in math.
Sometimes learning comes about the strangest ways. When you have 4 children to look after at the busstop and there is a loooong time until the bus will arrive, it can help to distract them with math or other subjects. Most often these situations just develop on their own, because the children ask all sorts of questions. This started with him asking about the answer to a calculation.
Finally we got on with making a Christmas table cloth, as a family project. I wanted to make a memorable cloth, that the children every year made a personal appliqué, which we would sew onto the cloth. So this year we got started. I am so looking forward to eat on it Christmas eve.
We love Christmas. Actually so much, that we work hard the whole first part of the year to get halfway with our books, to do just Christmas things all through December.
With candle decorations, we have to start a bit before. Because they have to be ready on first of December and Advent.
So we start by going to the forest to collect natural things to put on the decorations.
It even includes a bit of math, as the clay has to be measured to make sure everyone gets just the same 🙂
The finished result – 5 lovely decorations. One is going to be a present for granddad.
Today our daughter designed this cat in tinkercad. It is a program you can use for free on their website. If you have a 3D printer you can print out your design. She had not tried that programme before, but designed it on her own. We have a friend who has a 3D printer visiting and he told her a few things to improve, and she then did that on her own.
This is what it looks like on the screen.
Our friend then sent the design to his 3D printer at home. He has a camera hooked up to the printer, so we could follow her design being printed on our phone.
I hate when something is given a new name and then suddenly it is the new thing to do.
We all know it is bad to buy too many thing and to throw too many things out, before they have ended their life cycle.
I have been brought up to buy second hand clothing, buy all our things at flea markets. It was not because we were poor, it was a way of getting more value for our money and a way to keep a good healthy economy in our house.
It was also a respect for the environment. If we try to consume as little as possible and to look after the things we own, so that they last as long as possible, we keep our nature free of man made objects.
Then we respect mother nature, and try not to let our greed overtake our love for the free things, like a beautiful walk in the nature, forests, sundown and sunrise, clean water, the sea and other magical experiences.
We have to think, that every time we purchase an object, it will at some time in its life cycle, end up in the nature. Even if we burn it, it will produce pollution. So if we live simple, and try to keep “things” to a minimum, we will respect nature and treasure our earth.
So how do you teach this in our home school? Well, it is a matter of life style and attitude. Every time a child asks to get more stuff, ask them if they really need it? Let them think. Don’t accuse them of being bad for wanting more stuff, but try to explain how the mass production world works. How advertising works, how shops work.
We always say:”We don’t wan’t our children to become consumers but individuals”.
We work hard at that. Every time you try to convince yourself you need something, try to ask yourself, why do I wan’t that?
With this zero waste trend I find people asking:”What do I need to buy to be zero waste? It is crazy. It’s in the word – zero waste! Don’t buy anything. Use what you have already. Some people also say:”I threw out all my stuff”. That is not zero waste. That is also mad. Great, so you have just polluted us all with your old stuff.
People have moved so far away from living with nature and feeling it’s magic. Some people even say:”We can’t afford living zero waste or environmentally friendly”. Well, how expensive is not buying anything and living simple?
So we try to teach the kids, than things can be repaired and to look after their things. If you don’t need a thing anymore, you can either sell it, give it to someone who needs it or bring it to the relevant way of discarding it for recycling.
We have a huge pile of things we no longer need or maybe could get use of for some creative project in our living room. That is to the childrens free disposal. They can do with it how ever they wan’t to use it.
One day one of my daughters asked me if I could just remind her how you calculate a circle with pi. So I told her and went on a trip with her sister. When I came home, she had made this skirt on her own! I was really impressed. It is made out of an old bedding we had been given by someone sometime.
It is all about seeing the opportunities.
Positive creative mess in our livingroom. One day the children said:”Mum, we are playing, that we live in a landfill, it’s so great!” The freedom of not being told materials costs money, is such a creative freedom to cut, stick, sew and build from all this still not dead junk.
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.