Today we had our once a term Home Educators Support meeting. We get together once a term though support each other during the term via email and phone calls and Im sure we visit each other too! We dont always have a topic to discuss but often conversation centres around one particular theme. This time though we had a topic Lifestyle Learning. These are some of the things our group discussed:
- To Think out loud . We were encouraged by one mum to talk out our thoughts as we go through our day. If we are reading a book and say the title we automatically ask ourselves the question I wonder what this book is about? This is the type of thinking that we should speak out ask the kids What do you think this book is about. When we are planning our day and have to do this job before this job, talk it out as that helps the children see forward planning, organising and balancing your day. As we do the grocery shop and make automatic choices between this brand and that brand think out loud – this teaches the children about value for money, about preferences, about budgeting, about nutrition etc. As we make an apron we automatically measure off about enough to tie around the waist speak it out this way the children learn about estimation & measurement.
The challenge to us all with this concept is
a. First of all we have to actually realise that we are doing some thinking. These skills that we use day in and day out, come so naturally and automatically to us that we dont even know we are doing them. We need to go through a training phase ourselves where we feel ourselves thinking, ie become so aware of our though processes, so we can begin to pass it on to our children.
b. Peace and quiet such a beautiful concept! Sometimes we want to get out tasks just done quickly and quietly! Even the sound of our own voice is a distraction! This maybe so, and sure there are times when we need to have quiet, but if we are honest the benefits of training our children this way would generally out way those times.
- We need to know who we are and where we are going. It is so easy to be swayed by a curriculum and a fad in education. It is even easier to be swayed by a friend and their success. It is important for us to know what we want to achieve, who our family is and go from there. Discussion with other home-schoolers is so encouraging and we are very blessed as a group to have each other but we need to stick true to what God has given us and called us to be as individual families. As we glean from other families we need to know this is where we are at as a family and be encouraged but not swamped by the stories of other families.
- Often our focus is on changing our practices to match our philosophy / beliefs. The next step I have had to work on is matching my words to what really is going on. My words are as conditioned as my belief system. My belief system used to say that a good school day existed of achieving so much planned academic studies. This has changed. My belief is now that a good school day is peace and harmony in the home and hands to good labour (what ever that may be). Once my belief changed my practices had to change. I had to start finding good things to keep our hands productive with; I had to start giving time to these beneficial things. Once that got to be a habit I found that I was still saying words that reflected an old belief I would say things like We didnt do school today. But that was an old belief that of school being set curriculum work my new belief held that the cooking, the reading, the laundry and the game of chess all were valid learning experiences. We had a great day! My words need to be in keeping with my belief and my practices!
- Books that were tabled (these may not be exact titles but rather what they are affectionately called!) Wisdoms Way of Learning by Marilyn Howshall, Cindy Rushtons books on Nature Journaling, Homemade Books, Mega Issue Starting Homeschool the Easy Way, Notebooking. I Saw the Angel in the Marble by C. Davies, 3Rs by Ruth Beechick.
It is very encouraging on such a day to have your friends around as you discuss the things that are close to your heart. To encourage and challenge each other in an atmosphere of respect and acceptance is a grand thing. We dont necessarily do things all the same way but our hearts are for our children as we train them at home.
Another really encouraging thing to a mothers heart is that there were over 20 children (1yo-12yo) at this meeting, we dont have childcare and there were very few interruptions to the whole meeting. To see the children look after each, keep the young ones entertained and safe, is a fantastic part of this journey.