Year of confidence

by Lilia Efimova on January 2, 2015

Going through the photos of 2014 I just realised what it was for me – a year of confidence.

Since I stopped working four years ago things were very much in turmoil – taking care of two and then three kids, homeschooling, being the primary one responsible for running things in the house and garden. All things changed – my identity, circle of people for regular contact and network overall, daily rhythm and responsibilities, planning horizons and finances, even the language used for most of my contacts outside of the family went from English to Dutch.  And lots of that came with insecurities and lack of confidence.

UntitledSo I had to learn, to let go and to rebuild. And eventually it started to work. Last year was the one where all little bits and pieces started to come together into ‘yes, I can’ and ‘wow, it works’ feeling that doesn’t disappear after the next challenge.

And the best thing of all that? It’s the time for myself, my own development and growth that I’ve learnt to make in between all other things. And here I have to send you to read Learning to use the time you have by Lori Pickert, because that was really inspiring for me a year ago.

It’s all far from running like a well-oiled machine, so I guess 2015 will be very much about consistency, regularity and rhythm. And getting closer to those 10 000 hours needed for a mastery :)


Mixed age group learning

by Lilia Efimova on November 24, 2014

My views on learning and parenting are heavily influenced by the ideas of legitimate peripheral participation in a broad sense – making sure that kids experience life in situ, not in a special child-centric settings, but by becoming part of activities of those around them and society as a whole. Which is easier said than done, especially when you go outside of a single family level.

Cooking on the fireOne of the things we enjoy in that respect are family-focused camping trips – ecocamp in Russia, Russian-speaking camp in Germany or homeschooling camping in the Netherlands. Although for a period of time, they give a feeling of that village to raise a child where adults and kids are engaged in authentic activities.

But in everyday life there is not that much things you can do in a mixed age group on a regular basis. Adults go to work and kids go to school. Older kids can work as apprentices with adults, but that’s will take a while for us. Sports, clubs, courses are all either for adults or for kids. There are a few exceptions, usually targeted at parents of babies or toddlers, but even those are usually not accessible if you have more than one child. And, as kids spend lots of their time in school or kids-oriented settings, it’s also not very common to bring them along to where adults do their things. I tried for a while to find offline volunteer work that I can do with the kids, but gave up – at least until all of them are older.

We do get together a lot with other homeschooling families, but many of those meetings are still playdates or kids-oriented activities. Of course, there parents also do something – share experiences and fun or pick up on each others brains, bringing occasionally something to do for themselves – but most of the times it still starts from the kids interests.

Making musicGiven all that I was very happy with the idea of getting together with other homeschooling parents to do something interesting for ourselves – learning improv and making music. So far we had a few meetings, trying to find out a way of doing things together while keeping an eye on our kids. Most of the times kids were busy with their own activities, but they came to look, to ask questions or to play along. We’ll have to see how it goes, but so far it was lots of fun.



Learning spaces

November 12, 2014

My interests in learning and architecture come pretty nice together with homeschooling our kids. It’s fun to observe kids in action and then go along and modify the space around them to support their activities. When I dived into learning about project-based homeschooling, creating a workspace for the kids was the first thing I picked […]

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Facilitating informal learning

November 10, 2014

It’s always funny to realise how much the roots of what I’m doing today lay in the past: Looking back now I realised what got me into doing my PhD at the first place – fascination with formal/informal interplay in learning… Once I have discovered research on informal learning, I became fascinated with the idea […]

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Book organisation

October 30, 2014

Not panicking anymore, just trying to accept the fact that we are not going to have a perfectly organised kids books in the house. Regardless how many bookcases we have. And that’s also true for educational materials. And art and craft supplies. And what is made from all that. On toys and playing things I […]

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Thuisonderwijzers leren samen: learning with adults

October 3, 2014

This week is National Education Week in the Netherlands and its focus is on learning socially. Dutch homeschoolers are participating as well, with a blog hop Thuisonderwijzers leren samen. For me the social is at the core of learning, so it took a while to figure out what exactly to write about. Learning for a […]

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Sitting on a fence: should I make another blog?

September 27, 2014

I think I’m ready to get back to blogging regularly, but I am caught in a logistical issue: should I continue blogging here or move to another blog (have .nl domain and basic WP installed for a while now).

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Unschooling myself and project-based learning

December 15, 2013

In a sense it feels like starting from scratch. Like I forgot everything I knew from theory and practice under the weight of the responsibility of helping my own kids to learn. At times I feel that I’ve never learnt so intensely and so transformatively as I learn now. It’s very much true that unschooling […]

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Do I give lessons at home?

November 7, 2013

When I tell people that we are homeschooling our kids, they usually say something like “so, you give lessons to your kids at home, right?”. No really :) Like today. When kids woke up we had an idea to eat chocolate before breakfast – just because you need exceptions from the rules once in a […]

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Family sabbatical

January 16, 2013

With the last blogpost published more than a year ago I guess the time is right for an update. So here it is :) Although I shamelessly stole the title of this post from a very nice book, it’s not about an extended family travel. I like how the meaning of “sabbatical” is described in Wikipedia […]

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Not bloging, identities and Happy New Year :)

December 31, 2011

I go to Nancy’s blog to look for the Pear & Cranberry Chutney recipe to cook for tomorrow and then remember that I have a blog too and that it had been silent way too long. So here I am :) The truth is that I feel a bit like a caterpilar in a cocoon […]

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Legitimate peripheral participation

November 8, 2011

We happen to have a kid who is very (VERY-VERY) interested in what I’d call “legitimate peripheral participation” in the life of adults. Like in a local clothes repair shop – he would stand mesmerised, observing what the guys who work there do, ask questions and (if possible) help with something. Or like the last […]

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A long due update

May 5, 2011

It’s hard starting after a break – there are way too many stories to tell and way too many thoughts that came in between. So I start somewhere. I had a burnout – going on and off after my PhD defense and not very obvious behind the usual “not feeling normal” during my pregnancy. But […]

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An afterlife of a paper tea box

February 7, 2011

Paper tea box that’ve been at Alexander’s play kitchen for ages went into recycling. A few days after he founds a lid of it and then realises that the box is not there anymore and can’t be brought back. The tears of loss come and then I embrace him in my arms to tell a […]

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