August 01, 2014

The De-Schooling

Here's a mishmashy record of what we've done over the first two months of our registration. We have really just let the kids do whatever they've wanted, with some day trips and a holiday in there as well.

13th June 2014:
Today we went to the ASO's Grainger Studio for a schools' Meet The Orchestra event. Jay Laga'aia performed Peter and the Wolf, and the conductor gave an explanation of the instruments. After the performance MonkeyBoy and F spoke to the 2nd Percussionist. When F told him he was interested in drumming, the percussionist took both kids up on stage to play the bass drum. F was absolutely stoked, and not long after this he got his own sticks and a practice pad and is having lessons with Monkey-Boy. The really awesome thing he learned from this experience was that if you take a risk and talk to people about things you are interested in, really cool things can happen.

17 June:
E made her first stop motion Lego movie using the iPad app. She designed the scenes, planned how they would be photographed, executed the movements and edited the movie, inc adding sound effects.

F had been saving pocket money for a few months to be able to buy the Lego Technics monster truck. It is designed for kids 9-16, and he assembled the entire thing over 52 steps by himself. He problem solved one very tricky step by himself.

9 July:
F has spent the past few days using the Lego Digital Designer program to put together the Millenium Falcon, which is 300 pages of instructions.

Today he designed and built a catapult out of Lego, and is using it to launch pompoms.

17 July:
Discussed genealogy, starting with Lego minifigures in E's story and then looking at our own family tree back to 1600s.

Lots of Lego movie making, Lego story play and F created a replica Lego living room in great detail.

F is creating and drawing his own imaginary animals. E is doing a lot of drawings for a story book she is going to write.

E using Magic Sand to practice cutting techniques and holding a knife correctly. I think she's finally got it.

26 July:
We spent 3 days at Victor Harbor, where we were whale watching for Southern Right Whales over 3 days. Day 1 we saw mother and calf at Bashams Beach but the weather was too rough on the other days. We spent some quality time scootering as a family for the first time along the esplanade. Walked around Granite Island and were almost blown off our feet. Learnt that even the whales hate the wind that strong.

We started our first Geocaching search whilst there and discovered two items after searching for a few others that couldn't be found. The kids are very keen to continue with the "treasure hunts"!

1 August:
The kids both earn pocket money each week and have savings goals. They count their money and work out how much more they need to save and how long this will take. Sometimes they negotiate extra chores to earn more money. They go to the store and pay the salesperson themselves.Their confidence, particularly F's, has increased dramatically by just this simple interaction. They also are getting a deal of satisfaction from reaching a goal that has meaning for them.


That Was The Shortest Year Ever

Over a year has passed I see, since I started this homeschooling gig.  Much has changed in that time.  F-Man was (unsurprisingly) diagnosed with ADHD. Wahay! Medication! Sanity!  We started our youngun E-Boo at school, which lasted a grand total of 6 weeks before it became blindingly obvious she a) wasnt coping and b) also had ASD.  So there you go. We pulled her out, had an assessment done. Aspergers, Selective Mutism, high anxiety, gifted.  Another one for homeschooling.

We started her with distance ed this year along with F-Man and lasted one term before I lost my freaking mind with the amount of work I as the parent/supervisor (read "full time teacher") was expected to do, in order to ensure my kids got a second rate education. Screw that.

We are now bona-fide registered unschooling homeschoolers.  What that means is that we take a natural learning approach to their education. Kids dont need to sit at a desk or computer and do worksheets to learn. Learning happens every day as part of life. It happens in the car on the way to the shops as we discuss religion. It happens as we are saying goodnight when suddenly a conversation about genetics is somehow begun. It happens when they talk about their Lego minifigures' relationships and we get out our family tree, dating back to the 1600s.

So here's the beginning of our unschooling journey.  Its been 2 months now and we've been de-schooling all four of us, trying to become de-institutionalised. That's the hard part.  From here on, I'm documenting what the kids do, the resources we use and the learning that occurs.