I’m a little out of sync with blogging at the moment. We’ve had a busy start to the year with a family holiday and then visitors. I’m adjusting to a different season of life, and hope to get back into the swing of writing soon. In the meantime, let me share some of what is going on around here…
Last week we started our ‘study season’. It looks very different than last year.
Naomi has moved on from homeschooling and will slowly be filling her week with different activities and purposes as the year unfolds for her. I will still be documenting some of her learning experiences because I believe they are appropriate for anyone in years 10+ to be pursuing, so in sharing I hope to prompt other families to consider the skills and activities she is learning from. The other reason why I share some of her learning experiences is that we say that we want our kids to be a life-long learner and that learning isn’t constrained to 12 years of schooling, and yet we do seem to expect to see the end of it when they graduate from homeschooling. So with this in mind, I share how learning continues regardless of homeschooling or not.
At the moment Naomi is
- Studying externally with TAFE: Cert II in Visual Arts
- Studying various subjects that she wants to pursue, namely piano, photoshop, Italian and math
- Pursuing Duke of Edinburgh Award which includes physical fitness, art, and volunteering.
- Participating in the Girls bible study
- Part of the Youth Group leadership team
- Learning to Tap Dance
- When the local drama groups starts she’ll be involved
- At the moment Nomi works a couple of hours a week with taking in ironing
Daniel is still registered as a homeschool student. He will be studying three days a week, doing TAFE one day a week with a pathways course in pre-construction, and working with yard and farm maintenance one day a week. His TAFE course is not necessarily a career choice for him, but rather an option that became available and will give him useful skills.
Daniel’s study plan consists of
- Bible study (growing as a Christian),
- Math, Writing, Spanish and at the moment Drivers Ed.
- Skill based projects – these projects will last between 2-4 weeks. Initially he has chosen circuitry, photography, creative writing. He will use either purchased kits or an online course such as Udemy.
- General knowledge reading (history, science, or classic literature) for an hour.
- Boys Bible study and workshop – group of young boys meet weekly
- Taekwondo – twice a week training
- He also has a gardening maintenance job for one morning a week
- His free time interests are writing stories, photography and stop-motion animation at this stage.
Then of course there are all those times where something needs to be done either in family life, or in their own life – there is always something to learn. In the last few weeks I’ve noted the following learning opportunities:
- Both Naomi and Daniel have tried using a digital to-do list but it hasn’t worked for them. They have both decided to go back to recording both what to do, and what was done in their day with a paper diary.
- Spent some time helping Naomi plan her birthday party. She has lots of creative ideas, but as we discuss what that looks like in real life she starts to see which ideas are do-able and which ones are not. Her party starts to take shape. She has to buy some supplies, and test her ideas, and then set up for the party.
- Naomi helped her dad with converting his logo to an outline so it can be stitched on workshirts. This included digital art skills. She is helping a friend hem curtains for his house and stitched the relevant bands onto Daniels taekwondo belt.
- Udemy has a sale so Daniel sorted through a wishlist (which both myself and Daniel have compiled over time) to shortlist 5 options to then choose from, we then talked about his choices and made a final choice to start with.
- Daniel starts to edit his story that he started writing over 12months ago. His grammar and spelling have improved so much that he finds himself rewriting more than just correcting. We discuss the writers’ process and how this is a process published writers go through over and over again.
- Whenever we go shopping the kids have the opportunity to make choices, be it a choice between brand name and price for groceries or clothing, be it a choice about size and fit, or how functional it will be.
- Whenever the kids go to the hairdresser or a doctor they get to communicate about themselves – what they like, or what they feel like. As a parent, it is easy to take over these opportunities but as they speak up for themselves, they are learning a great life skill. We often have a ‘debrief’ after such an appointment, so that I can give them insight into how they did and how they could improve for next time.
On a sad note though we said goodbye to new friends. Two weeks ago Naomi turned 18 and her ‘penpal’ from the States came out to surprise her for her birthday. Her and her mum stayed for two weeks. Even though it is a harsh time of the year to visit we managed to show them some of the unique Kimberley country as we shared our life with them.
I’ve been trying my hand at art journaling / faith journaling. This page was after a particularly good conversation we had around the Sunday morning breakfast table: I started the conversation with asking, “What is the opposite to cynicism?”
And just to catch up with what our other kids are doing:
Joshua has completed his Bachelor of Arts: Majoring in Politics and Ancient History. He has been accepted for an internship in Public Policy (3 months) and will be heading to Canberra in a few weeks time. In the meantime he is helping around the house, reading through his assigned pre-course reading, and catching up with friends. We don’t know what is ahead for him beyond these three months but we do believe he’ll have a broader perspective after this time away.
Jessica continues with her traineeship at the local Resource Center. The business she is with is an internet cafe, as well as a place where people can get office type tasks done, and training in technology. Her days are varied and challenging – she is learning plenty as well as putting her abilities to good use. The placement is a great fit for her – with her abilities to get the job done, see organisational needs, teach and help others, and understand technology. Jess also leads a young girls bible study, is nearly finished her Duke of Ed – though wants to continue with learning things, personal fitness and volunteering.