Insights about home educating, by local resident Karin Bain.
This is a post for all the mothers in our community, especially the ones who suddenly find themselves at home with having to educate their children.
First of all I would like to say that you are doing really well. Wherever you are and whatever is going on for you personally right now you are doing fantastic! It is very helpful right now to keep things simple. First of all you must do what brings you peace of mind, whatever this means for you. Take a few minutes to decide what you need to organise and what actions you need to take in order to achieve this. Once your mind is settled it is easier to feel calmer and when you are calm your day flows much more easily. As a result the day of all the other members in your household will be better too. It can be really helpful to set some time aside first thing in the morning to sit quietly, take some deep breaths and then start your day. Three deep breaths is a good start, nine or more is even better. This is a time that can bring a lot of challenges, especially for families with young children. Of course, any family can be faced with challenges, no matter what the age of the offspring, or even if there is none. However, my personal experience is that of a family with one young boy, and so I share here what works for us.
Educating at home
Here in our household we are a team. We have been home educating our six year old son since October 2018, and find that approaching our day with a calm mind and a team spirit really works. When it comes to doing anything, be that household chores, education or work, we all do our bit in order to facilitate this. We have found that there are many everyday tasks, when approached in the right way, make our boys educational journey so much more meaningful. For example, instead of learning about the weather and seasons through the mediums of worksheets and PowerPoint presentations we go out into the garden to observe and feel them whilst we keep on top of our garden chores. When we bake biscuits we can cover the subjects Maths (measuring), Home Economics (how to bake) and Design (different cut-outs & sprinkles) all in one go! We use our stairs as a learning aid, especially for Maths. When our boy was little we placed a number on every step, counting forwards going up the stairs, backwards going down. Now we use them for addition, subtraction, multiplication and learning to read new words. When we do Art & Design we have a purpose in mind, such as making cards for special occasions. Writing practise is done through writing cards and letters to friends and relatives, making the whole experience more meaningful.
Love to Learn
As a result our boy loves learning. He loves reading, spelling (yes, really!) and Maths as well as many other subjects. There are countless creative and fun ways to bring education into everyday tasks and the above offer a small range of ideas that may inspire you. Have a look through your children’s daily tasks set by their teachers and see if there is anything you can incorporate into your daily routine, even if it is just one tiny element of it.
One of the most important pieces of advice we came across a while back is: ‘If things get too intense and emotional, add water.’ This one really works for us. Water can be incorporated in many ways. You can all have a drink of water, stick your kids in the bath, have a bath yourself, or play with water (indoor or out).
Once we managed to have fantastic fun (and diffuse a massive temper tantrum ‘I don’t want to do any learning!’) by placing a bowl of water on the kitchen floor, using some containers and some funnels to pour water. Through this we covered the use and spelling of the word funnel, the word ending –el pronounced as ‘l’, measuring for Maths and the properties of water (Physics) whilst having fun and lifting our spirits. Our boy didn’t even realise he was learning something ;-). Water seems to have an uncanny ability to flush out and dilute intense emotional states. At least in this house. Sadly I have long forgotten where I read this wonderful piece of advice, otherwise I would quote the source here.
The Family Team
We have found that educating our boy at home has brought much joy into our lives, bringing us even closer together as a family unit and giving us the opportunity to teach him the values of what is really important in life (at least in our home): To get along with the people closest to us in our daily lives and to play a positive and pro-active part in the family unit as well as in society. We never ask our boy to participate in household chores but we find that at the age of six he loves helping me with the hoovering and changing the bedsheets. He also loves helping with the washing, knowing how to operate the washing machine better than some grown-ups (that’s not a pun, just an observation…). Before your thoughts go down the wrong path here – my husband is amazing! He is much better at some household chores than I am and certainly does more than anyone could possibly expect! As I said, we’re a team and with that we all have our special talents and preferences. Fortunately for us it all works really well, we help each other to get done what needs to get done, and most of the time we have lots of fun doing it.
Go with the Flow
Go easy on yourself, focus on what is important and leave the rest for another day, especially when it comes to educating your kids. You may find that one day you are banging your head against the wall trying to get them to focus on learning the basics of how to read the clock with no results, and a week or so down the line they pick up a book and learned all aspects of it in the course of a few hours all on their own. It’s all to do with motivation. Once someone has the motivation to do something they will do it happily, easily and quickly, just like that. Once your child has the inspiration to learn a certain thing, go for it and back this up with as many real life examples, experiences and learning materials as you can.
Relax, stay calm, remember to breathe and use water when it feels right.
Wishing you a calm and balanced day.
Karin, Marcus & Joshua x
Image credit: Tim Mossholder, Unsplash – much Gratitude!