Ok, WOW! Little (actually, not at all!) did I expect my WhatsApp, Gmail, Facebook & Instagram to be flooded with PM’s after my last post. Thank you lovelies for the B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L thoughts, words and the overwhelming encouragement & support with reference to my homeschooling initiation. I must say it was quite refreshing to be at the receiving end of such warm gestures, living in a world full of quick spitting judgements, self – righteous opinions & constant flaw pickings!
I see that most of you have a lot of questions with reference to the whats, hows and whys of my initiation and even though the intention was to blog prior and during our homeschooling adventure, the fun & exciting rhythm of this journey has me lagging in updates entirely!!!
However, having read so many questions that are seeking elaborate and precise answers, I’m thinking that I probably should do a #throwback series of posts just for a basic peak-a-boo into how we started off, and what we’ve covered so far.
I noticed that a lot of the questions being asked, revolved around our day-to-day routines, where we hold our classes, & how I decide what to teach everyday.
To address and outline these questions – I’m doing a mix of Waldorfian & Montessori (will elaborate on these in future posts) curriculum at the moment. However, I do intend to focus entirely on Waldorf once my older kid crosses age 6, the “whys” of which I will discuss in my upcoming posts. Both curriculums that I’m currently executing, are all about independent learning, critical & logical thinking, self & universe exploration through hands on learning via different subjects, languages & liberal arts. In simple words – my kids decide which subjects they want to pursue throughout the day. Some days it could be one subject that runs for the entire day simply because they want to explore it more deeply; on other days it could be 2, 3 or 4 subjects running because they feel like exploring a variety.
My Montessori curriculum required me to start the kids off, at 2 hours per day, engaging in some form of learning; and to reduce or increase the time as per their interest, absorption and want. My son started at a little less than 2 hours at the beginning but he sits for over three to four hours now, when it comes to Math & Science, simply because these subjects interest him more. With reference to literature, although he spends lesser time with phonetics and letters, he’d sit 24 hours if someone was willing to read to him throughout the day!! He’s recently picked up the concept of joining alphabets to form words so he’ll probably do all the reading by himself sometime soon.
My daughter on the other hand, only turns 3 next month, so I just let her be wandering, and welcome her whenever she wants to be involved in lessons. However, being so so soooooooooooo very “ill-do-and-say-and-be-everything-like-my-brother-is” sorts, she tends to sit around for everything that her brother does, and is actually ahead of her age and our syllabus because of this!!! So when I do actually start her off, it would be more like a revision for her, rather than her having to grasp the actual concept of things (the perks of having kids one after the other!!!).
With reference to where we carry out our daily lessons, and for how long – A typical day at ours starts at somewhere between 7:30 am – 8:30 am, depending on when the kids wake up. Learning happens throughout the day, which means they could wake up whenever they please -some call this a perk of being Homeschooled. However, sleeping early & waking up at a reasonable hour is something that I personally wanted my kids to get into the habit of; simply because life and it’s circumstances don’t always provide the luxury or permit one to sleep and wake as he or she pleases. At some random point in life they’re going to have to go out there, and wake up at an assigned hour to get to work or reach a certain place at a given time. And so, for all those million reasons, the kids were subtly trained to be up & running, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as the sun begins to shine. Although we do have surprise sleeping-in days, go-crazy-with-your-art-supplies-days and unplanned cartoon or Harry Potter marathon days as well (obviously!!!!!). However, waking up with the sun has been so deeply absorbed within their systems that when I do excitedly shout “TODAY WE SLEEP-IN!!”, my son responds “But why do you want to sleep? It’s morning & the sun is out!”
Yes! – where there are roses there are thorns too!! Albeit, these are potentially good thorns and work well in my favour so I’m not going to complain!
Also, I know how creepily intimidating it can sound when I constantly say “learning throughout the day” –
– Learning throughout the day doesn’t mean we sit around a table from dawn until dusk and tediously try to finish portions or a certain amount of syllabus. NO!!! Why would I go through the efforts that homeschooling calls for, when there are regular schools that I could send them to, that do exactly the same??? This entirely defies the point of me homeschooling, doesn’t it?
It’s quite normal to misunderstand the concept of Homeschooling. Even I had intially misconceived homeschooling to be “schooling at home”. That is NOT, and I repeat – NOT what it is.
While homeschooling, you aren’t replicating a classroom routine or style or time period. Not to mention the limitations of being confined within a classroom with four walls! As a homeschooler you are cultivating a lifestyle where learning is constantly happening – with absolutely no limitations with respect to time, venue or circumstance.
For example, last week when we had a certain stir-fried dish that consisted of green beans for lunch, my son very neatly laid his beans from numbers 1 to 10 on his plate while simultaneously grouping them in patterns of even and odd numbers – quite similar to one of his math activities from our Montessori Curriculum. Observing him carefully (as she eternally does!) my daughter replicated the same on her plate. To join in the fun I made an 11 pattern on mine to show them how it’s done once you cross number 10. And so number 11, and the fact that it was an odd number was learned over a plate of beans for lunch last week.
Having said that, I have fashioned, with my own hands, a small kids corner for them as a space that inspires them to learn and read – although if you ask me where we study, I’d say anywhere and everywhere!!! In every room of the house, including the shower – when my kids draw and trace alphabets on the mirror, across the condensing droplets of water on it!
So far, we’ve done most of our stuff in doors, and sometimes in the car, but we’re going to carry it outdoors as well – once the temperatures in Kuwait lower down a bit -to normal human tolerance levels if that’s possible! – ‘Cuz heaven knows the heat in this country and how we’re all roasting in it whenever we step out!
So I’ve postponed some of our exciting adventurous botany & geography units for the winters so that we could stroll through the parks or beach or wherever feasible, and carry our lessons outdoors…
…’Cuz I honestly haven’t got a clue as to who said this, as this quote was forwarded to me by a fellow Homeschooler, but seriously, “Not all classrooms have four walls” …or have the need of walls at all!