October/November/December Homeschooling Miscellany

in #unschooling9 months ago

Everything kind of completely fell apart in October. @pixietrix had caught everything under the sun in Term 3 and so had missed a fair chunk of it. At the beginning of Term 4 she continued insisting that she loved school and still wanted to go, but two weeks in I could count on one hand the number of times she had actually gone. She kept insisting she was "sick" or "too tired" but would always be better just in time for gymnastics. Things eventually came to a head when we had a massive blowout as I told her if she was really that sick then she was not going to gymnastics so she could recover properly and she told me to pull her out of school so she could go to gym (a threat I'd made a few times previously but hadn't done because I give too many chances). I tried to get her to be reasonable and told her she could go to gym, and then she had to go to school for the rest of the week. If she wanted to quit after that she was to tell me on the weekend and I could pull her out and she could go back to homeschooling, if she wanted to keep going then she had better have as close to a perfect attendance as possible for the rest of the term, and if she didn't go the following day then I was pulling her out that day.

She did not go the following day despite multiple attempts and reminders on my part so I pulled her out.

We spent most of October and part of November deschooling (because at some stage I'd read somewhere that a month of deschooling was recommended for every year they'd been in school, no idea if this is still conventional wisdom or not). It was mostly a confusing time as often she seemed a lot happier but other times she was begging to go back next year. Eventually told her that she can do a term of homeschooling as we're starting up a new homeschooling group (and I'm hoping that will help with her need to be around lots of people all the time) which she has to give a good go of (no self-sabotaging/refusing to make friends etc to "prove" it's not working out) and if she's that desperate to go back to school she can go in term 2 but if she stuffs up that is the absolute last chance and there will be no more after that no matter what.

@shadowlioncub spent some time helping to dig a strawberry patch.

Unfortunately a combination of hot weather and trampling dogs meant all the strawberry plants died. @shadowlioncub was a bit put out by this but moved on to growing potatoes (which I somehow managed to miss despite them being in tyres in the middle of the yard) which are doing quite well.

He also needed to get glasses to correct a focus issue. He needed to wear them daily for 2-3 weeks and do some eye exercises and after that he can wear them if he feels the need to and apparently should otherwise be good for a few more years. The optometrist who prescribed the glasses said it should help his reading speed and concentration and seems to have done so. He even decided to paint which he hasn't done for the longest time.

And also made another box helmet after watching some docos and things on Youtube about knights and playing some game simultating a medieval fantasy blacksmith.

The weather being nice and warm I decided to try and squeeze a lot more swimming in as I have managed to fail that in previous short summers, and we tried out a new pool. Here's @pixietrix asking for my water resistant phone in its waterproof case

because she likes taking underwater photos and also attempting Tiktok dances underwater (it's quite entertaining to watch from the top especially when she starts drifting away because her brothers keep swimming round and round the coloured tile island).

The same thing happened when we went to the beach with a couple of @pixietrix's friends and they decided to do Tiktoks in the water (but not under it). I did manage to get my phone back to take a photo of some poor attempts at sand sculpture (nothing compared to @ammonite's work XD).

I made the turtle, @shadowlioncub made the little sandman and gave both sandman and turtle eyes, and the fort was a joint effort and a fun exercise in city planning. Because it was where the wet building sand was, @shadowlioncub built on the waterline so we were fighting a losing battle with the waves. I ended up just constantly reinforcing the walls while @shadowlioncub built the village inside. It comprised of a bunch of houses with a large central shopping centre and two schools so that everyone who wasn't homeschooled had a school within walking distance. We also attempted a harbour but failed miserably.

The December end of year things fell on the same weekend but fortunately not on the same day (otherwise there would have been issues). On the Saturday there was the gymnastics end of year display and on the Sunday @pixietrix's dance concert which comprised of two shows, the matinee which we watched with the outlaws, and an evening one in which I helped out backstage for the first time in a long time (well first time ever for this studio, otherwise last time I did backstage was when I was in the theatre and drama club at uni a hundred million years ago).

On Christmas Eve we hit up Adventure World (opened up a Christmas present from the outlaws early as @pixietrix was adamant that we absolutely had to go on Christmas Eve with her friends, any other time was completely unacceptable for any reason). They had a blast and I managed to get a concussion on the roller coaster (I think, I know I somehow hit my head on the harness on one of the sudden turns and must have hit harder than I thought) which I then very cleverly followed up with another two rides (the last one of which exacerbated things so badly I was curled up at our base camp for about 40min before J brought me a small bucket of salt-laden chips to get me to a stage where I'd be able to get into the car and make it home without throwing up). After that we hit up a friend's place. This friend always does an amazing Christmas lights display and puts on an event to raise money for the children's hospital.

The "nativity" thing out the front contained cute baby animals that could be patted and fed (and many bottles of hand sanitiser for before and after). A few boys from gymnastics were helping out by donning mascot costumes and @gorc asked if he could help out next year. Told him unfortunately it would have to be the year after as we're going to Christmas Island next year. After the visit we went home so the kids could open Christmas presents (and I could get shots of faces as they all got stuff they wanted/had been looking forward to) and packed them off to bed as we left early on Christmas Day to do the family feast at Jurien Bay (which this year was done as a very late lunch/early dinner so that there was only one big meal to prep for with all the desserts that would normally only be available at one or the other and pretty much everyone could make it). We stayed there a few days after enjoying the beach and finally got to go out in the boat.

The kids had a great time at Jurien helping with their younger cousins and with all the preparations. Unfortunately we had to leave a day earlier than planned as the stupid concussion lasted forever and I got to a point where I just needed to go home. @gorc was happy enough to leave earlier as he was missing his cats.

My vague plans for this year involve trying to cram in a lot of stuff to make up for last year. I've asked all three kids to come up with a list of 4 things they'd like to do/see this year and will do my best to save up. So far @shadowlioncub has turned his in after having done a lot of research to make sure we wouldn't have to drive too far and also included the cost of each thing. Still waiting on the bigs. Have also made the difficult decision to stop @shadowlioncub's psychology appointments so we will have the money for the boys to do archery and judo and further social and interest-based skill development for them. We're also trying out a new homeschool group in first term, they run classes as well as meeting socially, and will continue with that if it works out and won't if it doesn't I guess. I'm also anticipating finding more homeschooling groups through that one and possibly trying them out too if the social butterfly wants even more big group things.

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I got tired reading all these activities {smile} ... brave girl going on the rollercoaster but possibly, just possibly {smile} ... the head banging knocked some sense into you ....LOL ... only kidding !! Not a pleasant experience having concussion and still having to bear up for the kids.

Roller coasters are fun :D

Bahahahahaha would take more than a concussion to knock sense into me I think XD Also think it's the first concussion I've ever had so I'm probably getting weak in my old age, I've had several hard knocks to the head in my childhood (just from being an active clumsy kid, nothing major) including falling off the top of a rope ladder and landing on my head (and not breaking my neck like I should have x_x) and I don't recall ever feeling that bad as a result x_x

Oh man, a concussion while you try and keep spirits up for three kids and Christmas doesn't sound great. I hope Pixie gives the homeschool groups a good shot.

I did my bestest XD I'm not great at Christmas anyway so no one noticed til I had to bail out of the Kris Kringle because the headache got too terrible (which aside from being more noise than I liked sounded like a lot of fun >_<).

Thanks, I hope so too but currently it's not looking good >_<

What’s “deschooling”?

I think the actual definition is just a mental shift away from feeling like the school system is somehow the only valid form of education. It's usually used to describe the transition period from school to homeschooling where everyone is destressing from school and discovering or easing back into learning styles that work for each person.

Oh OK. Thanks.

Seems like a decent enough few months. Tell me Ry, is it detrimental to go into and out of the school system? Can that have a negative effect? And what does the school system think of it?

As far as life goes it was pretty good but our life is generally pretty good :) As far as homeschooling goes, it wasn't brilliant but also not a complete loss.

Umm gooooooooood question, I'm not actually sure as this is my first experience with it. I would hesitantly say yes in my case because it's brought up a lot of behavioural issues, but now that we've had this thrown in I have no idea how much of it was related to going to school and how much of it she might have done on her own anyway because teenager, and I won't know unless she decides she absolutely has to go back (which I'm still hoping she doesn't because it's entirely too much work that I have less than zero interest in). If you're talking education-wise well even though she was definitely doing a lot more she doesn't seem to have learned much more than she would have at home because stuff you're not interested in/find irrelevant doesn't seem to stick no matter how much people scream at you that it's absolutely imperative that you learn it.

I asked a friend who has had kids in and out of school, and they said it was beneficial in their case due to severe bullying and after a period of homeschooling and some added maturity theirs was fine when they eventually went back.

I've also been told the school system hates it because they don't support homeschooling, though the one we were using didn't kick up a fuss when I told them what was going on when I pulled my child out (which was probably safer for everyone at the time as I was well and truly over everything by then).

Hmm, interesting. You know we don't have kids, but my brother in Cairns intends to homeschool his lad (currently 16 months) and so it's on my radar now.

I can't really have an opinion however...I don't think going in and out of the school system would be what I'd want for mine if I had kids. I think it may complicate matters. For social interaction external sporting clubs and groups (scouts or air training corps for instance) would provide it I think, so why go to school. My dad was a school teacher, back in the day when they actually cared, these days...Well, seems like they aren't really equipped to be guiding kids in those formative years. I think this for many reasons, not least of which, is the way a 20-something person generally behaves in society, online etc. Just my opinion and one that generalised.

Anyway, interesting topic.

I've read all of one blog I think where the writer described their kids as "drifting in and out of school" or something to that effect and probably didn't find it detrimental or I doubt they would have done it. Otherwise most of the people I know of were intending one way or the other (to either homeschool or send to school) and life happened that demanded a change (breakups, more income required, bullying incidents that are unresolvable etc).

There are some kids who will thrive in a more academic environments or just love school for whatever reason but that's absolutely not all kids or even most kids.

Do you have any decent links about it, the process etc. that you could share?

On what, deschooling or homeschooling? The first one I literally had no idea what I was doing and didn't really do anything out of the ordinary for me (which is apparently the right thing to do for a change XD).

Homeschooling well "it depends" XD There's about a hundred million different styles ranging from "school at home" all the way through to "unschooling/natural learning". I can tell you a lot about the last one which is most of what I do, and not much about anything else. Most of the people I know end up with pretty eclectic processes combining a lot of elements they particularly love from different philosophies.

The philosophies/processes/styles that I can remember off the top of my head are school at home (which is exactly as it sounds, sometimes distance education/school of the air is lumped in here too), Walforf, Charlotte Mason, Reggio Emilia, unschooling/natural learning, and I can't remember if Montessori counts or not as it's very structured but in a completely different way to current school systems, but I have known people who have used aspects of it.

My moderator has me down as "eclectic/natural learning" as most of what we do is natural learning with bouts of me just foisting things on them. My process involves trying to find/figure out what they're interested in (deeper interest than one question/conversation) and trying to wrap activities around that.

For example the recent AQWA excursion came about because youngest loves the ocean and is thinking about being a marine biologist. Additionally the Duyfken replica was berthed there so we bundled in that tour (actually the Duyfken tour included entry to AQWA but technicalities), so we covered biology and a few aspects of hass in one go.

In this post we covered horticulture (youngest's gardening adventures), art (the cardboard helmet, painting and sand sculptures), physical education (swimming, and during term the endless gymnastics and dance, this year we're adding judo and archery, least they're in the same place as gymnastics, send help x_x), civics and citizenship (turning up to support the friend's Christmas Eve event and contributing to the donations they collect for the children's hospital, during term we practically live at the gym), outdoor ed (is that still a thing in schools? Anyway the boating) and that's just from stuff I remember to write about.

Then of course you have to work out how much social they like. For a kid that's happy spending time alone or chatting with friends online, the occasional face to face get together with said friends or weekly club/sport/whatever they're into might be plenty. For a kid that desperately needs to be surrounded by all their friends all day every day in might be a bit tougher (if you're in a metro area and on Facebook homeschooling groups shouldn't be too hard to track down, it's just logistics that can become nightmare).

If you're wondering about a process for your brother and his tot, if they're currently out and about a lot, reading at least daily bedtime stories, safely involving him in chores (yes I know it makes it take longer especially when you desperately want to just get it done, but it will help down the line, I got viciously sabotaged in this process and might be paying for it now or maybe they would be reluctant to do their chores anyway, I'm not sure), counting things, engaging in conversation (even if it's just running commentary on what everyone is doing) and meeting up semi-regularly with family and friends especially where there's other kids running around and playing then they're pretty much doing it perfectly already.

As he gets older they might continue just teaching things as they come or if they want more structure there's plenty of workbooks (my kids "like" the Excel series, which is to say that they hated it the least as despite 13yo's insistence on loving school, all my kids including her hate bookwork XD) that can be bought from any given newsagent or bookstore, or they could find a homeschooling philosophy they like and build around that, or if they are really full on they could get prepackaged curricula (those exist too but I have never wanted to try any so can't make recommendations).

The most important thing is to keep an open mind and be fluid, the thing that works now will probably need to change later :)

Hey Ry, thanks for writing this out. I have cut and pasted it into an email and sent it to my brother. I think it will help bring their thoughts together and give them a few ideas on where to seek further information. Much appreciated.

No worries :) You're welcome to keep asking questions for yourself or by proxy even after they find local groups to gel with ;D

I can't remember if this particular brother was also on here, if they're interested there's been a couple more people writing under the #homeschooling tags (and #unschooling if they're interested in that style) which may be helpful for them. Some of them are actually informative, mine are more "this is the kind of thing you can do" as there's more than enough purely informative stuff out there now :)

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Well done, it's not easy homeschooling I'm sure, though it's cool you let them decide when and what to do.

I was homeschooled, I think I've mentioned, but I had to present a 'case' to my parents to get the approval, (write a paper do a presentation of pros cons etc) which was good as it got me prepared for the time I had to self discipline.

I was luckily homeschooled by a tutor who came three times a week, so it was NOT the burden of my parents. It did teach me to self discipline my school work though and I was far advanced in that when University came, as many people who had been to school felt lost not having the daily routine of teachers saying do this now and the bell rings now go here, I had to take assignments from my tutor and actually study and prepare in between the days she was there. I still had the 5 day a week, M-F times for school, but weekends free.

IF I had kids I'd probably do the same. Good on you.

You may have done as it sounds kind of familiar :)

Did you ask your parents if you could homeschool instead of going to school? My kids have never been til last year when middle child tried it out (and I think I've whined a hell of a lot about it since XD). Your homeschool regime sounds like it was pretty hardcore :O

I don't see it as a burden, it does take up quite a fair bit of time (which is the main reason I deeply resented the school intrusion) and also money (hoping the new budget plan thing I've worked out will help with that). I have to admit the discipline with the schoolwork is one thing I sometimes get concerned about should they pursue further study because we don't do much in the way of bookwork at all, but I also know that they can knuckle down when they want to including putting up with things they don't like doing if they know it's part of some end goal they want to achieve (who likes doing drills in gymnastics? But that's what you do if you wanna git gud scrub) so I'm pretty sure as they mature and are increasingly able to look longer and longer that they'll do what they need to when they need to do it.

If you had kids and did the same I hope you would write about it as it would be interesting reading :D

Thanks ^_^