Our homeschool life seems to flow. We have finally come into a rhythm again after being away for the Summer and finally I feel I can sit down and breathe.
We’ve drastically lowered screentime. Where before as an unschooler I didn’t really feel like regulating, I observed that my boys are happier for it when it is regulated and actually so am I. It means less screentime for Mom too, so upfront: “Sorry, if you can’t reach me.”. A positive thing is that they have something to look forward to and maybe that counts for something too.
It is funny, I feel thorn by what I thought would work and what I have observed that does work. So as we go along, I am learning.
Instead of screentime they play. They play a lot and it brings them and me joy. They are creating, building, inventing, cooperating, enjoying themselves. It is a pleasure to watch.
Also, as a family we play games. Board games, card games, sports. Doing something together, learning a skill while having fun. The game for next weekend will be Yahtzee.
I read a lot of stories aloud to the boys. Maximan likes factual books on animals and the chapter books, currently we are reading Heidi for book club, he likes Harry Potter and we have started with Grimm’s fairytales as part of this years curriculum. Midiman likes picture books about vehicles, animals and lookup books. And Miniman especially likes horses. If you read him a picture book, he is only interested in the horses.
Not only am I reading aloud but since the beginning of this year I picked up reading books for myself, as an alternative to watching television. It feels good to read and I also feel like I am setting a good example. Win-win!
A couple of weeks ago we started with form drawing. Basically it is a whole book with a continuing story about two children who have adventures. Every day is a different chapter and introduces a different form. So first I read them the story and afterwards we discuss it. Than I ask them to make a drawing of the story to help them remember what the story was about and if they can include the form. I ask this specifically because sometimes they don’t think the form was important at all. They didn’t even noticed. After drawing it, we start to be the form by reenacting at. For a circle we would walk in circles or make a circle. We use our imagination. The younger kids love this part and really participate here, where they didn’t before. But that is okay. The form drawing what we’re doing here is for 1st/2nd grade so aimed to Maximan. After experiencing the form we will “write” the form. This can be done with a pencil, with crayons, it can be painted or we write it in a salt tray. Again, using our imagination.
When we have finished our book, we will continue our story and we will arrive in the Land of the Numbers. This year, we are starting again from scratch. All the things we’ve introduced in the last three years, like the numbers, the alfabet, reading and writing, we will reintroduce. But this time in a more flowing, organic way.
I restarted with my handwork as well. Two years ago, while I was still pregnant with Miniman I started crocheting a blanket. Which I never finished. I have a couple of months left, so hopefully I am done before this baby arrives. For Maximan I have the plan of teaching him how to knit, so he can knit himself a scarf.
The boys also enjoy to bake bread and to cook. I bake bread multiple times a week when we need bread, but we have one day a week that it is up to the boys to bake the bread.
They also love to cook. Together we made a whole list of different ideas for dinner. Suggestions of meals they can make too. They like to clean and cut the vegetables and I love to work together with them. I have to remind myself what a blessing it is they want to do this and are enjoying it, because when I am tired, I get cranky and I tend to forget.
We restarted with our Spanish lessons again. Even dad is joining us. At the library they have bilingual story time once a month, that might be fun. During this year we will also start with Chinese Mandarin. Than we have the following languages in our house: English, Dutch, Dutch sign language, Spanish, Chinese Mandarin and a little bit of Italian an Indonesian.
Today Maximan came home with this beautiful piece of artwork, which now hangs on the fridge. I am still planning on having frames for the boys’ artwork which we can rotate. I saw this nice system on Amazon a couple of weeks ago.
Yesterday we drew pumpkins with the primary colors of the block crayons. It was so much fun. All the boys were drawing and they ended upmaking a couple of pumpkins. So now we have a whole pumpkin patch.
This Saturday is Samhain, which in the US is most commonly celebrated as Halloween. Today during our Taco Tuesday dinner we talked about what it means to us. This is the last harvest festival and preparation for Winter time. We talked about people that have passed on and the world of the living and the dead. We talked about what we will be doing this Saturday and which movie we’ll watch on movie night. You can read more about Samhain here.
We spend a lot of time outside. We have unstructured nature play, nature study and a hike. Maximan even has an extra day where he goes to an enrichement program in nature. This is just the minimal. I believe that it is good for the children to spend time in nature, to explore, to get dirty. To feel (experience) the elements.
In November, Maximan will start a course at the Minecraft Academy. He’ll be learning about six different scientists and their inventions. He’ll do this together with friends from our Dutch Homeschool Community.
Overall it feels good. We are not doing to much. The kids have enough time to play and use their creative minds. All of us are enjoying life, although we as parents could use a little bit more sleep. Next thing for me to get used to, is to go to bed early. Getting enough sleep is important since I am prone to depression. Currently I am fighting it. I am faking to the best of my ability that “I’m fine” as a coping mechanism, just not to sink into that hole. I am afraid that when I let go, I’ll be all alone and I don’t have the strength to recover on my own and that there is no one who can or will help me. I think that’s why this rhythm feels so important. Just this flow of life and not to overdo it.