Do I give lessons at home?

by Lilia Efimova on November 7, 2013

Bird poking at a worm under a fallen leaveWhen 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 while. Kids went to dress up and Alexander came back in a pharaoh mask. Which prompted a discussion on whether pharaohs could eat chocolate for breakfast and what from our usual food they could and couldn’t eat.

Downstairs we opened curtains and saw lots of birds poking around in a fallen leaves. So we hypothesised why they were doing that (looking for worms or insects to eat?). Alexander wanted to play with playdouch while looking at birds, so we ended up making a bird poking at a worm under a leave. In the mean time we looked at encyclopedia to see if worms could see (couldn’t find that, but looked at different types of worms and saw that they didn’t have eyes). We also have discussed that we should go outside and check ourselfs what is actually there under the fallen leaves…

That’s before breakfast. Later in the day Alexander will probably listen to the audiobook with stories about the origins of the food we eat, we’ll look at maps and talk about it. I’ll try to find time to check how worms navigate to be able to have a more scientific answer to the question about their vision. Alexander and Anna will most likely to play with letters and numbers, both in Russian and Dutch. They  will write a bit, in the context of whatever they will be playing at that moment. Probably they will watch cartoons in English and will definitely talk and sing in English, since it’s the fan thing recently, learning the “secret language” that their parents speak to each other. There likely to be some talk about the systems in a human body (Anna is busy playing a doctor) and reading either the book about the space or the one about evolution (these are the two Alexander asks to read recently). We will probably talk about ecosystems and may be draw some, since this is something that popped up in the discussion of the evolution book and in a talk about Robert’s project at work yesterday. I guess there will be some Minecraft playing later in the day (or playing Minecraft with Lego :) and talking how limiting it is not being able to make wheels, what flying gives you and how to make sure that Alexander can walk to the sea without getting lost. Probably we will be looking at the map of the Nederlands to figure out from where Robert comes back home today and for sure there will be poems of Hans and Monique Hagen before bed…

So, I don’t really give lessons. I try to be a role-model, to provide resources and to facilitate learning. I don’t remember much details about the worms from the school program, but there is a worm compost in the garden to have enough live reference, I say “lets look” and take encyclopedias and books when I can’t answer their questions and we might look online later. We talk about what the kids see and find interesting, I try to answer their questions (or to record them to come back to it later), to play with the theme, to recreate and reenact it in different ways.

Sometimes I have panic attacks that they will miss something superimportant because there are not enough triggers for it in our life. Then I think about my own old blogging lesson: if it’s important it comes back. They can’t miss reading, writing, math and internet. They can’t miss figuring out their own interests and learning how to follow through on those. They can’t miss finding resources and learning how to ask others for help or guidance (and when not to). They can’t miss negotiation, persuasion and presentation skills… And for the worst fears I look at a school programs (Dutch and Russian mainly) once in a while to check where we are :)

And, please, don’t ask me about “the socialisation” – I’ll write about it another time. Today is a socially slow day, so it’s just a small multi-age group of three kids and one adult (two in the evening :) and whoever we might bump into when going for a walk.

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