Thursday, October 24, 2013

He can learn wherever

Recently I was questioned about how I could possibly be teaching my kids. We don't really follow any curriculum, we don't have particular set "school" times. The closest things we get is the older two have quiet time when the littlest is having his nap, and they are supposed to exercise their brains. The thing is they choose what they do. Some days they play with Lego, or put together a craft. Other days they will grab work books or ask for a word search.  

The thing is that is not the only time they are learning. The are learning something most times in the day. It has been amazing this past while as we are learning to trust our children, that they can learn and figure things out. Sure there are things that need to be improved on as they mature and grow. Spelling will come with time as will their reading.

In the picture above Bobo was asking me how to spell words so we were sounding them out and he was printing the letters. Previous to it he was doing a word search and an I spy game on his placemat. The family we were with for some reason were stunned that he was capable of doing this. It is stuff he is interested in and has been wanting to do, so he has. Both my husband and I believe in being open and allowing our children the knowledge they seek. We don't tell them that they are too young to do something or overly dumb down the answer to their question. At the same time we don't use big fancy words that we barely understand. We speak to them as human beings who deserve to know about the world around them. If the boys don't understand they know they are allowed to ask questions for clarification.

The point is, sure we do things a bit differently but that is okay. My children are actually well rounded people. They are individual and while they may have to learn things at a different rate, they learn at their rate and they learn to love what they learn. They are empowered to learn wherever they are.

Friday, October 18, 2013

We are still a home learning family

We live in a province that gives us amazing freedoms with our children's education. We have your normal standard brick and mortar schools that most of us grew up attending. We have publicly funded speciality schools, environmental, traditional, alternative, arts based, Waldorf, Montessori and Christian. We can also teach at home through various distance learning( DL) programs. Where you have to report to a teacher on a regular basis and work with a curriculum of their or your own choosing. These distance learning programs are funded and either designated as either public or independent schools. With these some programs offer even partial days of school or classes for the students, some at a cost and some included in your enrolment. Finally we also have the options of being Section 12 registered, where you simply let a school of your choosing know that you are home with your child so they can be counted for numbers. You are then completely free to do what you want with your child.

They are so many options sometimes it is hard to decide what you want to do. For us it came down to I wanted to keep my children home. I still wanted the freedom of choosing our curriculum, but the funding from a DL was necessary in order for us to be able to offer them the extra enrichment programs. Now we don't do anything fancy but having memberships to Science world and the zoo and being able to attend various art and music classes are important to my boys. Being able to put them into swimming lessons go rock climbing, Beavers or other things that come up are important. Unfortunately the budgets only goes so far with kids, and things like food and shoes need to take priority. In case you haven't noticed kids classes are super expensive. I didn't realize how expensive at first but they sure are. $200 for one art class is very standard and that is only for 8 classes. This is why I needed to choose the DL route. I found a program that respects my child's needs and encourages me to follow his lead and let them show me what interests them.

We are very lucky with our program, we have freedom in education in our province that most don't. The freedoms we have with being able to just be registered is not available to many others. The government wants some sort of knowledge and /or accountability, not sure why but that is how it works. I was reading a post  the other day about how if you are enrolled in any various programs that you are not truly a homeschooling family. That got my back up a bit because while yes we have a teacher that we talk with for us it is really no different than the boys talking to a friend about what they are doing. Yes there is more reporting and we are not totally free and off the grid, we are still schooling our children at home according to what we want to do. Now yes there are some programs out there that are much stricter with very particular requirements. We were in one, it wasn't for us.

My thing is no matter how you decide to do home learning for your children, whether it be online or completely alone. You are still at home with your children day in and day out, teaching them. You are infact homeschooling. Sure the government may have a different term but don't they have that for everything? You teach your children and i'll teach mine. We are both doing the same things, teaching our children with love and trust in an environment that fosters their needs.