Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Day 3 of home education

Another awesome day of learning! It's early days but we seem to be falling into a rhythm of home ed that's working well for us so far. It was 12 months ago that we first started considering home education - how far we've come in that time! We're drawn to Charlotte Mason principles, and I've done a fair amount of reading up. We like the outdoor aspect, and learning from living books. It makes a lot of sense to us that her motto 'education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life' rings true. 

Having said that, Eden, our oldest who is nearly 5, has always enjoyed, and thrived, on structure in her day. So, while Charlotte Mason would not advocate formal learning until at least 6, we've started a very flexible timetable, which includes hands-on maths and reading continuing what Eden can do already through play, and in addition, building in Charlotte Mason's 'extras' - composer study, picture study, French, nature study. We also do daily bible time and handwriting, Eden loves to write! 

Over the last 3 days following our loose 'timetable' I've realised just how much we've covered and achieved in just a few hours. Educating 1:1 appears to be very efficient! It gets to lunchtime and it feels like it should be much later in the day with everything we've done. It's not like the topics we cover have needed a lot of planning either - a lot of it happens naturally, organically, with one activity flowing into the next being led by Eden's interests. For example, we followed our maths lesson curriculum today on my iPad (saves the trees). When we got to the colouring page of two girls, which I obviously hadn't printed out and was just going to chat through instead, Eden asked to have a copy so that she could colour it in, cut it out and make paper dolls. So this led to an activity in itself. I love her creativity! 

It doesn't always work to plan though - this morning was our first French 'lesson' - I thought we could learn an easy French song using YouTube. I found a lovely farm animals one with a simple tune. Unfortunately it went straight over Eden's head - too fast-paced and it felt like it was a complete waste of time, but then on the other hand she has been exposed to listening to French this way. Next time though we'll try something different. 

With the planned stuff over, we headed outside for the afternoon (Charlotte Mason style). The farmer was harvesting his wheat in the fields across the road so we went to watch, and then had some garden time. After mixed weather for a few weeks it's back to warm sunshine again - always seems to be this way in September. 

A quick, but necessary, visit to the library after tea finished our day. Eden collected her summer reading challenge certificate, which ended today (hence the necessity of the visit). I love that both the kids look forward to visiting the library each week. Even active Asher loves going to pick his books, as soon as he knows it's library visit day he'll ask in his own way a dozen times if it's time to go yet! When we arrive they both grab a book and find somewhere to sit to read it. It's very sweet to watch! 

Two tired kids in bed by 7. While I wouldn't say our daily routine has especially changed all that much (I've always encouraged the kids to be 'busy' and limited screen time) I think the slightly more pro-active learning approach over the last 3 days has challenged them enough to be appreciating their sleep at night! 

I'm still super-excited to have started our home ed journey. It's such a privilege to be present in the many moments of learning, seeing something click, observing the progress in Eden's reading, watching her creativity, answering really thoughtful questions! And for Asher, who is going through the disagreeable toddler stage (at home at least, he's an angel for everyone else!) celebrating the small victories; like today there have been moments of obedience and other moments of him *nearly!* saying yes. It may not seem much, but it's taken a lot of parenting input to get to that point and seeing a little self control shining through in my nearly 2.5 year old. Looking forward to another fun-filled day of learning tomorrow! 

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