Friday, 8 July 2011

Still Alive....

How slack am I?! 3 weeks and no posting. Let's blame the 6 kids and growing belly ok? Cool

At least the nausea has settled right down now. I am still a wee bit tired, but really, it's to be expected.
Some days I remember back to when I was pregnant with my first. Oh how I could just sleep, with no care in the world. As my 9 year old loves to say 'Those were the days!'

Time is flying by this pregnancy. Although it seemed to drag when in the throws of nausea, now that I am feeling better the days are zooming by. I'll be 'halfway' before I know it.

The kids are on holidays at the moment, although really most home ed kids we know are never 'on holidays.' They still want to play, learn and create, even in cold weather like now.
My 6 year old spent a few hours today at a friends house. They are both similar in that they love the outdoors, playing and having fun. The girls collected lemons, twigs, big leaves and such to make their own nature tea party.
They also cut out and decorated bookmarks and then laminated them. I am the proud owner of a new book mark, now I can replace the folded receipt I have in my book I am currently reading.

At the moment the kids are loving 'Horrible Histories' on ABC 3. I must admit, I am too. We have not had free to air TV for such a long time, and I and the kids missed ABC. So Hub fixed the aerial and set it up again. The little ones love shows like Dirt Girl World, Small Potatoes and of course Play School. The bigger kids love Horrible Histories, Behind the News, Mister Maker(little ones like this too) and of course Soupe Opera! We all love that one, the music is quite catchy.
So far so good with the TV. Some of them would sit their all day, and others are happy with their fave shows and that's it, so I do regulate for the couch potatoes. A bit on the morning, and then again when I am preparing and cooking tea.

We are all looking forward to starting Story of the World in a couple of weeks. Up until now I had just put together bits and pieces for history and geography. Some from my own collection as a primary teacher, some from friends, some from the net etc
I have looked at history curriculum now and again and recently started searching more thoroughly. What I love about all the curriculum out there for every subject you can think of, is that when it comes to Home Education, you can go as slow or fast as you want, you can stop for a while, or you can skip ahead, come back, do whatever you like really. I love having that freedom.

It frustrates me when people will talk about curriculum and how if you use it than you are school at home 'types'. This is not true and just shows their ignorance, and lack of understanding, or lack of wanting to understand. Curriculum for me is like anything. You use it how you want, when you want, in a way that suits the individual child.
In a school setting the goal posts are very narrow. 25 odd children all being told the same thing at the same time, with worksheets and projects all done at the same pace. Yes they can source more info out of school, but the premise is at school. Everyone doing the same thing.

This is another reason I don't do labels. No matter what type you call yourself, the end result is that your child is doing what suits and fits them. This can be similar with siblings, or can be the complete opposite. I have 4 children all learning in different ways, with different interests, needs and wants. Some things cross over and are able to used for more than one child. Math-U-See for example has clicked for two of the kids, with another being more at home with my thrown together maths. One child loves a Grammar curriculum, the other doesn't.

While on the topic of labels, another misconception is that there is 'School at home' and 'Uncshooling.' This could not be further from the truth. Many years ago in America homeschoolers were mostly religious. The few who were not wanted to distinguish themselves away from the term homeschooler, as society assumed they were religious families doing school at home. As most religious homeschoolers followed a set curriculum and would do 'school at home.'
Hence John Holt's term Unschooling was used to distinguish the difference between school at home with set curriculum with a more rigorous and strict approach at teaching children and the more relaxed approach that other families were doing which was following the child and family interests with no set curriculum.
He uses the term to mean schooling that does not look like school. Since then it has been changed, adapted and moved around to mean many different things in America and the rest of the world.
(I have several close friends in America who have explained what I have just said clearly in regards to the evolvement of home education from the 1970s til now and am confident in retelling their experiences and knowledge)
I do not have any problem with anyone using whatever label they like, if it suits them and their family go for it. I only have problems when that label becomes restrictive and people stress about doing exactly what the label says. For example I know unschoolers who use some curriculum. I also know unschoolers who would say that if they use a curriculum for all subjects, or even one subject, then they are not unschoolers. One very popular 'unschooler' in America has even said to people whether she thinks they qualify as unschoolers or not.
This is when I see problems. Fitting into the label. It can be freeing for some, but also restrictive too. It is the very reason that if I am pressed to answer what 'label' we are, I say that we are Eclectic. Bits on bobs from here, there and everywhere. I feel freedom in the term eclectic as it truly is anything and everything, whatever suits.

There are not two types of out school 'learning.' There are hundreds. Every family is different, and it frustrates me when I hear and see people break down Home education into these two 'definitions'
At the end of the day, Home Education is Freedom. Freedom for each child to follow, learn and educate the way that suits them best. Whether that means using a box curriculum, some curriculum, no curriculum, Charlotte Mason, only Natural Leaning, some natural learning, religious based learning, Steiner, Montessori, De Bono, Frobel, travelling on the road leaning, in a cabin in the woods learning.
It is Freedom to go as fast as the child wants, freedom to start and stop when you need, freedom to change as you want or need, freedom to use whatever tools you like.

Ok off the soapbox, that stretched longer than I thought! I have a lot floating in my head, about so much. It can feel overwhelming as to where to even start.

I will post when we start Story of the World and then post maybe ever week or so about how it is going. It would be nice to have a bit of a record online about the progress.

Schooling/learning has changed a lot here in the last few months, as the older boys head into what society calls 'Highschool' education.' This is both exciting and scary! They are showing stronger interests in one or two areas and wanting to delve more into them. I have recently learnt about a program that is offered in our state for homeschoolers in high school level. They pick what subjects they want, and only go to the school for them. The rest of the week they pursue these areas more and also can follow other interests too. They meet with mentors once a month and talk about what they are doing, how they are going etc It is all lead by the student and they can change as they need/want. I am keen to learn more about this program. So far speaking to a parent and her daughter who is in the program has certainly made me interested to learn more. The young woman in the program said she is loving it, being able to learn more about the subjects she wants and having the freedom the program offers.
It is great learning more about what is out there for the higher levels of education and learning.

What a post! Hope you made it.


Anonymous said...

You really know how to make a woman swoon, posting about labels and the myth of clear cut black and white homeschooling methods, pwoar! I need to fan myself off here!!

I think you save me a blog post ranting about the same very thing. I don't think home educators do themselves any favours when they go to extreme measure to separate and define lines between themselves and how other peeps are doing it, and to only value the input and wisdom of those doing it the very exact same way.

How fucking boring, and how much are they missing out on by tossing peeps to the wayside when they may indeed have some valuable pearls and tidbits to share?

Hell, I'm neither religious, hardcore into curriculum, or an unschooler, but I read blogs by peeps who are (not necessarily all 3) and am inspired by what I see. It doesn't matter that not everything is the same as what we do, take what I like and toss the rest!

Love you lots!! And cheers for the link to Story of the World... While I suspect that it isn't my cup of tea, it may very well be Jet's, that kid devours 'boring' worksheets and school stuff like it's chocolate pudding... LOL

Anonymous said...

Errr, just to clarify, I don't mean that I think Story of the World is boring, LMAO.
Just that *I'm* not ready for that much detail... But hey, the journey isn't about me is it? :)

Clare said...

LMAO apwool, as I said THAT is the beauty in freedom in any curriculum or 'worksheets' You go as fast or slow as you like, take wheat you want, toss what you don't ;)
And totally agree about it being about the child. So many things my older boys are fans of, makes me want to gauge my eyes out with an ice cream scoop. But they are the home edders, not me.

Maybe you will want to borrow my Story of the World stuff in 6 years ;)

Camilleta said...

Wow, it's my dream to homeschool my kids, so it seems like I stumbled on a great blog. =) I only have 1 so far and she's not yet 3, but it's never too early to start researching!

For nausea, I really recommend beans. LOTS of beans. Good luck and congrats!!

Nat said...

With that post, I forgive you for not posting for three weeks! ;D

But really -- yeah, labels. Pfft, who needs 'em? I feel the same way about freebirthing... that's another topic!

TakingMyPlace said...

My kids love Story of the World! :) Did you know that the same author has also written several more history books for teens/young adults? My 13yo history-buff son adores them!


Clare said...

Camilleta, definitely never to early to start researching! Thankfully the nausea has passed, but I have had 2 colds in the last 2 weeks, grumble. Bring on warmer weather and feeling better!

Oh Nat, don't get me started on the labels with home birthing. Sheesh, as far as I see baby born at home, enough said :)

Meribeth, I didn't know about the other books for older children/young adults. Thank you for the info! Will definitely get on to those too :) The 11 year old is getting right into history at the moment, and I see him going a lot faster through Story of the World than the rest of us.