My elephant in the dark

by Lilia Efimova on 23 October 2016

A visit from Gabriela, bringing back memories of the golden era of blogging and triggering an exploration of optics uses in medieval paintings, also brings something else. I look back at my own path and wonder how all of my experiences of work and blogging are useful now and what I’m going to do in the future with my experiences now. My PhD research and homeschooling live in the different worlds, in the same way as my current interest in permaculture has nothing to do with my professional background.

Inside it feels very different, as I’m touching different parts of an elephant in the dark knowing that they should be the same despite of being very different on the surface. Interconnected. In the last few months I saw where I build up now on my PhD and work experiences. Now I more and more see myself bringing things I’m learning in my permaculture experiments into the ways I view and design learning experiences.

At some higher level it’s all about designing for an ecosystem. Which should be a topic for another blogpost once I get to it :)


What a week

by Lilia Efimova on 16 October 2016

When the cold season comes some homeschooling weeks are relatively normal, structured around regular activities in and outside the house. Others, like this one, are getting filled in with all kinds of extras, enough to make me want to crawl under the blanked and hide.

A couple of sessions of working on a boat book at Wowlab, which were actually more about trying to figure out a good way to communicate with Allaa from Syria, who is learning to speak Dutch, while making some progress on the book and not losing kids in the process.

In between there was a Kinderboeken week peformance of Goochelaar Jan, which I jumped into at the last moment because magician tricks are a long-term interest of Alexander. During the performance Anna went on stage to help and earned a magician diploma. Since it was just across Wowlab, we convinced Allaa to join us – it was fun to see that he had enough things to enjoy and to learn even if he couldn’t get most of spoken stories heavily based on references to books that he doesn’t know.

Then there was Xperimenta afternoon at Twentse Welle, which required sorting out registration problems first (because not naming a school where you child goes gives en error :). I was happy to see Alexander being perfectly relaxed about going to do something new with unknown people and to hear later on that he knew quite a lot of things from the topics covered.

Thursday was a usual day meeting with homeschooling friends, except that it was in a new house of a family new to the group and those things usually call for quite some adjustment.

On Friday a friend from Amsterdam came to stay over with her six years old daugther. Despite of not seeing each other for more than two years, the kids figured out how to have fun while playing, trying to scare our neighbour, building insect hotel and eating raspberries in our garden.

And as soon as they left on Saturday, Robert took the girls to another theater performance, while I took Alexander to programming workshop organised by CoderDojo during the (re)opening of Twentse Welle. The girls joined us after the performance and the rest of afternoon was filled with eating suikerspin, viral crafting and, unexpectedly, a tea with friends into whom we bumped in the museum.

It’s Sunday and I’m happy to finally stay at home, with “just” groceries and seasonal clothes repacking on the agenda. Next week is a school holiday and I don’t have any appointments in the agenda for the first three days, hooray!


Household activities as a part of the curriculum

October 6, 2016

I often say that household work is an important ingredient of our kids’ education. In this post I explain why it is so and how we approach this in practice.

0 comments Read the full post →

On homeschooling quality

September 11, 2016

Back home after a half a day talking about homeschooling practices and politics. There was an intervision session for the parents to share and discuss their experiences and, by a coincidence, a call with a discussion of current state of negotiations about the changes in the regulations of home education in the Netherlands. It’s a […]

0 comments Read the full post →

PKM for kids?

September 8, 2016

I’ve been thinking in the last few days about a direction to organise my current experiences and thinking about learning. It always have been about an individual in a social space, in a continuum of teams, communities and networks, but at the current iteration the age went from adults to young kids, bringing a lot […]

0 comments Read the full post →

A jar full of coins

September 4, 2016

While sorting stuff in the bookcases to be replaced I found a jar full of coins. Giving it to the kids turned into math, construction, cooperation and ice-creams.

0 comments Read the full post →

Facilitating unschooling: bridging the gap between interests of a child and external expectations

August 29, 2016

I’m at another iteration of trying to come up with a “theory of unschooling”. In this post I draw parallels between facilitating unschooling and supporting informal learning in an organisation, and then discuss the challenges of aligning interests of a child and external expectations.

4 comments Read the full post →

Not back to school insights

August 24, 2016

As everyone around is starting another school year, we do too, in a sense. Reestablishing household routines after traveling, painting shelves to make a new bookcase and trying to wrap free-range learning into a plan for a quality assessment process with Stichting Keurmerk Thuisonderwijs, which brings a few insights to share.

0 comments Read the full post →

Seasonal rhytms

August 18, 2016

Seeing how the choices of our kids of what to do and where are changing with the seasons is always amazing.

0 comments Read the full post →

Lightning and thunder

April 15, 2016

Nature, physics and math – just because it’s stormy and the delay between lightning and thunder is always amazing.

0 comments Read the full post →

Things to write on making

April 9, 2016

I’m longing to write, but the physical reality takes over. Two weeks in Russia with the kids, flu, Easter, laser cutter workshop and spring season in the garden, not to mention the kids, all need their share of attention. So, not to produce yet another unfinished draft I’ll make a quick list of things to […]

0 comments Read the full post →

Facilitating informal learning: mindset, lifestyle and paying attention

March 27, 2016

Easter lunch is not about learning, but it serves as a good example to talk about the mindset and the lifestyle that enable learning as part of life. It also helps to see why noticing and articulating informal, embedded and implicit is important.

0 comments Read the full post →

Designing for a family learning: safe space and facilitating independence

February 19, 2016

I’m trying to articulate what are the ingredients for mixed age learning that includes adults and kids as a series of posts. This time talk about safe space and facilitating independence of every family member at their own level.

0 comments Read the full post →

Learning transfer

February 16, 2016

Learning is in the details. There are things that go routinely now. Household work, reading-writing-math plain or embedded into games and activities, logging lists to document what’s going on, sport and other clubs, weekly homeschooling meetings. That’s a basis that we really pay attention to if something breaks. A good ground of sorts. However, what […]

0 comments Read the full post →