3 (or is that 4?) First Thoughts on Home Education

1. Relax and enjoy family life.bigstockphoto_Our_Mum_624059

2. Don’t worry about spending big lots of money in your first years – by then you’ll find out that you don’t need to spend heaps of money.

3. Decide what your family’s priorities/mottoes are and then put the time in to your top priorities.
Ask yourself: what do we want our children to “look” like by age of 16-18 yo? what qualities do we value?

4. Relax and enjoy family life.

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My Take on Home Education after 12 years

A rant from a home educator (and trained HS teacher, ESOL tutor, and counsellor)

I’m not judging anyone, just outlining how I see home education ::Featured image

Why do we need programs for this and that? curriculum / curricula for our 6 year old?

Did we not choose to leave institutional schooling to have a life of freedom? a life where children can enjoy the discovery of learning, instead of offering them preprocessed sausage meat?!

Our children love to learn, have a curiosity for the world around them – especially when we get them away from workbooks and in to the real world around them. This is the great benefit of homeschooling, home education, natural learning, worldschooling (call it what you will).

Parks, libraries, other families are the wonderful assets in your education journey. Don’t fret about public schoolers’ comments or expectations of whanau.

Set your sights on the character and attitudes of your children for when they are 16-18 years old. Train them, guide them, love them, have fun with them.

Don’t waste childhood on workbooks and dreary stuff. Watch a ‘Magic Schoolbus’ video, climb on the playground at your local park, or go to the confidence/ adventure course nearby, check out the egyptian mummy/ dinosaur exhibition at your local museum. Or take a week or so to go to Te Papa. Have adventures.

Do the stuff that lights their/your fire and passion. Ease up. Your children can’t help but to learn – your job is to strew interesting things around the house, provide a creative environment, and widen your children’s world.

NCEA is not really your primary goal – raising creative adventurous young people who are equipped to face a changing world would be better. Young people who will contribute to society in a positive way. People don’t tend to gain or lose jobs on the strengths of their qualifications, rather their positive attitude and emotional health. Someone who is punctual, trustworthy, polite, follows instructions, uses initiative, honest.

Let’s maximise the benefits of home education – not just replicate schools.

Coming from a family of teachers, I internally fought/worried especially for the first year over ‘are my kids doing enough’ and then realised I had to trust my children and relax a whole lot. It was a huge struggle for me to let go of my schooly preconceptions – and let the children make a few more choices. Yes, HS and the style we choose is family choice, but we can (are able to) change/evolve our approach/es along the way.
When you feel down or stressed as home educator, maybe that is the time to mix things up a bit.

People learn best when relaxed and enjoying the process.

Ways to do Homeschool Mathematics (without a Textbook)

Maths concepts can be taught mentally very well and without textbooks until about 12 years old.

  • times tables – rap rote, skip counting … also divisionmathpostcard

  • Rolling dice and getting him to visualise the number rather than counting them individually.

  • mental arithmetic is excellent :: if i have this many and you eat this many … how many left?

  • Use fingers to show patterns, skip jumping/counting, read stories with maths concepts in them, read recipes.

  • Baking

  • Make a pizza pie together, make symmetrical patterns with toppings? and teach basic ideas of fractions. 1/2 pie – 2 pieces the same size …

  • MEASUREMENT (give them a real tape measure at 5/6 yo, with the OSH talk)

  • tape measure – arms, legs, strides; door posts, table height, step treads, etc ..

  • How long is your thumb in centimetres? how long is your cubit? stride? doorway

  • estimation  … sensible answer?

  • How many wheels on those 3 trucks and 4 cars …? How many legs on those bugs …?

  • gardening, planting, design …

  • patterns and series, eg diff types of leaves, 10×10 (100 block) colour in …

  • map / atlas reading – note scale, NESW, distances/time, latitude / longitude, poles …

  • bus timetables – how long to go from A > B… every how many minutes …

  • for fun, learn to count to twelve or twenty in 5 different languages

  • draw shapes w/ruler, pencil, protractor, and compass

  • Big and Bigger numbers : what does 1000 look like? 1,000,000 …

  • consider big counting questions. How many chickens killed every day in NZ/the USA? How many trees in a particular forest? How many glasses of water before a particular water reservoir runs out?

Keep mathematics as an everyday part of life. The siloing (isolating or separating off) of maths and other disciplines is what sucks the joy, discovery, and relevance out of them. http://learning-reimagined.com/conrad-wolfram-maths-reimagined/

Of course you could use YouTube and Textbooks, but keep the interest and fun factor high.

http://www.mathscentre.co.nz/

http://www.interest.co.nz/calculators

http://libguides.unitec.ac.nz/diymaths/integers

http://gregtangmath.com

http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/top-teaching/2013/12/using-lego-build-math-concepts

http://www.youtube.com/user/MyWhyU

http://www.mathsisfun.com/

Stand and Deliver

keep-calm-and-stand-and-deliver

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“Stand and Deliver”

  1. Topic is chosen – timekeeper selects adjective and noun or short phrase

    (maybe contributed to by other speakers in group)

  2. Speaker stands up, ready to be given topic by timekeeper

  3. Once topic is given, speaker has 15 seconds to think of an outline, then has 60 seconds to speak.

  4. Timekeeper ‘tings’ when time is up and speaker stops.

  5. Feedback : first comment is general and positive (pick out one good thing),

    1-3 comments of improvement/to work on,

    finish feedback with 1-3 positive comments and encouragements for future.

Presentations

  • Connect with the audience – smile, speak their language on a topic they can relate to

  • Careful with “throat clearing” activities just before you start speaking, eg. um…, well…, fiddling with papers, not looking calm and collected

  • Connect the ideas within your talk

  • Give details, be specific – think 5 Senses

  • Inject gentle joy and humour

When reading,

  • Hold out your book (in one hand, if possible) so the top of it is below the level of your chin

  • Relax, smile, and use some eye contact

  • No affectation or pommie/plummie accent

  • Be slow and purposeful

  • Open your mouth, use your lips

  •  “nice round vowel sounds”

  • Use phrasing to help meaning

  • Project your voice from back of throat

  • “superb sage sausages searing in the sizzling seas”

June 2014

NZ Homeschool Exemption Application thoughts for those overseas

* My instinct is to apply once you’re here with some sort of NZ address, 6yo is legal age to be in school, but don’t rush/fuss. Just settle in to life here, without school.

* Exemption form is available online –

https://parents.education.govt.nz/secondary-school/secondary-schooling-in-nz/home-education/ 

Don’t be spooked by talk of 15 page applications –  that’s not needed.. 

* Use the outline of the application as your title heads, including subjects (I did, though, make a disclaimer about the artificial nature of subjects ‘boxes’ as life is more wide ranging and mixed up than that) – and succinctly fill in their (MOE) boxes.

* Timetables and lesson plans are not necessary as all you need to show is that you ‘teach as regularly and as well’ (s.21, Ed Act, 1989).
Talk about regular meals, and maybe more sit down work in morning. 

* Timetables are something wonderful to hang on walls to make someone else more secure but really are a work of fiction as we respond to the interesting world and families around us.

* Use of words like :: possibly, maybe, could be … are wonderful homeschool exemption form words!

* Expect to be asked for more info from MOE (min of ed) – it’s their way of trying to make us feel their power over us, methinks.

* In the meantime, think about what you want to achieve between now and 18yo.
What type of child would you like to train up? How will you bring out the best in them?
What are your family’s mottoes/ values/ priorities – this is where you spend most time in the next decade or so. I made a comment about wanting them to be contributing citizens who are honest, respectful,…

New to Homeschooling?

Find a way to enjoy family life.

Go for walks and have fun discussions, ask questions.

Instill the love of learning and discovery, rather than a rigid school-like ritual.

Invite yourself around or invite other families around to mix life up a bit.

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Homeschool Encouragement

As a species we are NOT created to function alone. We are made for community. We need each other to support, build up, correct, give hope.  And God IS with us.

Mothers, Home educators – I pray that each of you are released from the burden of thinking that you have to homeschool and train up your children alone. yay!
You are not alone.
“You don’t have cos you don’t ask”

Draw people in to your family life/school/work :
Pray in or seek for pretend-grandparents, if yours aren’t in town.
Pray in a ‘big sister’ for yourself, someone about 15 years older who is at a different stage in life to you.
Get your child/ren surrounded with aunties (real or adopted) and  other homeschooled families.

Organise low-key outings/events for the purpose of engaging, inspiring, and encouraging each other.

Blessings.