We have done quite a few shows now, through the years we have been homeschooling. First we did a Shakespeare play, then “Jack and the bean stalk” as a play, then we did a Circus performance and then a musical that my oldest child wrote.
Around a year ago we met a Minstrel, who inspired us to do a Minstrel Show. He even agreed to take part in our show, which we greatly appreciated. Another homeschooling family also took part in the show and we trained together for 8 months.
It is always a great way to make new friends and bond with other like-minded people, working on these projects.
The children and the adults all worked together on writing the individual parts of the show and then on making the costumes, scenery, props.
We set ourselves the goal many years ago, to make a you tube channel to show that learning is fun and exiting. It is called “videnskanalen”. We have played around with it for many years and have been learning how to make films. Then a new TV channel started in Denmark and we got the opportunity to make TV together with them. The channel is called “Danmarks Frie Fjernsyn” and we have a channel called “Schouserne” which is a channel about how wonderfully exiting life is. It is about DIY, science, stories, biology, stop motion, animation and much more. Have a look here: https://www.danmarksfriefjernsyn.dk/velkommen-til-bu-tv/
This april the TV company got a permit to build an art installation with a studio inside on Nytorv by Strøget in Copenhagen. We have been performing there and making TV the past few weeks. It has been a lot of fun and a good chance to get the positive message about life out to young people.
The art installation is covered with information about the TV channel and we have designed one side of it and written texts to go with it. I tell about the Cube here:
Learning by doing is the most meaningful way to learn and making TV this way together with a lot of positive, enthusiastic and brave people is very motivating and a great way of learning for the kids.
Through the years we have often been asked, which method of homeschooling we use. It has never been important to us to have a method of homeschooling. But we learned that to many homeschoolers it was very important to define themselves in a method. The method defined who they were. Especially with those people we met who defined themselves as unschoolers.
We don’t define ourselves as homeschoolers. Homeschooling is something we do at the moment. We may have done it for 11 years now, but it is still not our identity. It is a personal choice to us.
When we started meeting people who said they were unschooling, we heard about the method and thought, well that is what we do. Child-led and interest based learning. But the people we met said, we were not allowed to call ourselves unschoolers, because we sometimes use classic school material and sometimes teach our children classic knowledge, as learning to read, write and math.
Well, just the fact that other people saw themselves in the position to judge other peoples lives, without having lived it, made us quite negative to the unschooling method. It seemed more and more like an ideology or religion. But most of all it seemed like the main focus in unschooling, was to reject and be against all classical learning and school-like learning.
We see homeschooling as a positive way of learning, that can be merged into daily life and gives you a wonderful opportunity to get to follow your children’s learning and development. What you call that, really don’t matter to us. It is just a definition. There are already too many boxes in life.
Our homeschool is all about content, not ideology. But people around us got more and more angry with us, if we called us the sacred word – unschoolers. So I started looking into what methods there was to choose from on the market, or if I would have to invent my own word, for what we do. Well, we found the following methods on the market (I have organised them in the order of amount of discipline involved. Most discipline first, least discipline at the end):
The Classical Method
Self directed learners
One particular box we seemed to fit into, was Eclectic learning. It is a method that mixes all methods and uses it as a palette of colours as you need them. Most homeschoolers end as Eclectic learners, when they have been homeschooling for many years. It is a natural process of learning – to stay open to all methods.
So to us, confining ourselves to a method, is more of a communication tool, to communicate with particularly unschoolers, where method seems very important. We just live and learn.
If it should happen that some people that call themselves Eclectic learners should forbid us to call us Eclectic Learners, we would just call us the Pippi Longstocking and Gyro Gearloose method. It wouldn’t be a problem to us.
We love learning by doing. This year we had the idea to put together a Christmas Play, together with some other Homeschoolers. It was a good way to learn about religion, history and to work together as a group. It was also a good way to get to know some other Homeschoolers better.
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.
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.
In a society where the main focus is on the benefits of age segregation, we focus mainly on the benefits of age integration in our home school. Learning to mix with all age groups gives you a greater tolerance and understanding of the different periods of human life. You will learn not to fear death, but accept it as a part of life, just as giving birth to little helpless babies. To see and feel that humans have different needs and abilities during a life span is a great part of learning to be a complete person. To show compassion with elders, who do not react as fast as young people, may have age handicaps, and to see them as wise experienced people that you can learn from.
Last year my mother died and left my dad on his own after more than 50 years of marriage. This has given us an opportunity to take care of him and learn all those exiting skills from him, that he knows.
Luckily, he enjoys telling about his life and about his experiences.
He has taught the children how to draw perspective: