9/24/2018 1 Comment
A sense of humour in homeschooling is ESSENTIAL. When our son first started homeschooling, after a long stint in school he was wrecked.
He refused to study
He refused to even entertain the idea of study
He was angry and he just wanted to play
The crying and the screaming when he came home from school was heartbreaking
I had never experienced anything like it
As an avid reader, and a person that found joy from delving deep in to a book and not surfacing for a few days (and then later, as a parent, not surfacing even for just a few hours) I had always read with our children. And they loved reading and writing.
Stories and story-telling was in their DNA. It was inconceivable that words, and creating words, could make our son so upset.
And not 'having a whinge' kind of upset.
Screaming, crying, having a meltdown. Running away and hiding under the house. Or under chairs.
It was incredible. He didn't just have an aversion to book work.
He was scared to do it, and had been taught somewhere (by someone) that he was
and no good at writing.
We had never used these words in our home. And now they were thrown around as if it was nothing.
It was NOT OK.
Cue horror that I had not picked this up earlier.
WHAT. THE. HECK?
I am not a primary school teacher
I am a university tutor
I work with adults
Knowing how to deal with this kind of learning block is not my fortè
But I am a Mum, and as a social worker, I know trauma when I see it.
And I knew that taboo things are always something that little kids are up for.
Hence the success of all of those Bums from Outer Space kind of books...
"How about you just write about bums?"
"Bums? ... Or... farts?" I tried again
"Go for it. Write a story about your teacher that said you were stupid. Use as many bum and fart words as you need" (raised eyebrows)
Cue faint excitement from small child...
There is only so long that you can write about bums and farts, really. Even for little boys that have a lot of pent-up hurt and anger towards their teacher, can really only write 'Bum' and 'Fart' a few hundred times before they want to use more descriptive words.
But this is a technique that we absolutely still use in our homeschool.
Write whatever makes them want to write.
If it is a taboo word and is not going to hurt anyone, then sometimes that is just what has to happen...
Seven years (and two babes later) we have graduated to very sophisticated sentences with our new (untraumatised) six year old.
Such as "the poo kissed the koala". Very sophisticated.
But it works.
I am happy to report that our little boy is now 16 years old, reading and writing, and successfully working his way through online university subjects.
And on that note, this afternoon we will upload a whole lot of bum and fart activities, to SEED Homeschool, just in case you have a little boy that runs and hides under chairs when it is book work time, and might need a little fart therapy...
A mum of 5 who never used the word fart in her life until she had a school-traumatised little boy...
Start Homeschooling Summit 2018, was a 6-day homeschooling summit running for FREE online from the 19th to the 24th of Feb 2018. The 34 workshops are screened live and pre-recorded from all over the world, and are available to watch for 48 hours with a free registration - and forever, with a forever upgrade! We know that time can be limited at home with the kids, so we are covering the summit as it happens, to give you the run down on our favourite workshops! come along with us for the ride! * not a sponsored post! but all links are my affiliate links. I am only taking 2 affiliates in 2018 - and love both!
Let's face it. Summits are one of the most fun things that you can do in your pyjamas. A hot cup of tea, soft couch, fluffy pj's and a virtual room full of other homeschooling parents online to chat, while you listen to how others do the thing that you spend most of your time doing ... bliss. And so this is how I started this week. With the addition of strepsils for a horrible head cold that I had acquired from my one school child (had the summit been IRL then I would have missed it!) and a snotty little baby bouncing on my lap, I was pretty excited to dive head-first in to the Start Homeschooling summit, starting with Kelly George talking about low-tech homeschooling.
Kelly, you had me at luddite.
I remember in uni, when one of my university lecturer's started talking about luddite's, I was ecstatic to finally put a name to my aversion to technology for the sake of technology. SO when Kelly referred to herself as a modern Luddite, I knew that this was a talk that I would be watching over and over again!
Yes. Even with an online business, and typing this right now on a computer, I am somewhat a modern Luddite also.
I grew up in a very low tech house and on reflection, that was the best way to grow up! My parents valued reading, and gardening, and journaling, but also spent a lot of time outdoors, and encouraged me to pursue creative pass-times rather than watch tv. Some of my best memories are scenes from books where I imagined that I sat alongside Heidi as she followed Peter through the moors, to tend to fluffy little goats. Or wheeled the little boy in to the secret garden of Francis Hodgson Burnett's imagination. I learned to sing and write songs, on long weekends when I was left to my own devices with nothing but a radio and a tape recorder. I loved that after school, I had hours and hours of uninterrupted time to write, and play, and initiate complex imagination games with my little brother.
And I tend to think that uninterrupted, quiet time is a luxury that only we can give our children, in this busy world full of overwhelm, burn-out and hyper-stimulation.
The first thing that I loved about this talk, was that Kelly was incredibly candid about her own experiences. The good, the bad, the ugly - the nitty gritty of what happened, and why, and how her family changed to make their homeschooling (and family) life better. I have mentioned this on our facebook page, but right now, I think that we are all a bit 'over' looking at the glamorous, air-brushed versions of life. In the trenches of parenthood there are incredibly difficult times, and spectacularly wonderful times. And homeschooling is no exception.
I want to know people's struggles. I want to see what really happened for them. What was really hard. What really worked. And I love that Kelly had plenty of anecdotal evidence in there, about how a low-tech life is working really well for their family.
I really appreciated the acknowledgment that technology is not just fun, it is downright addictive! And the discussions around practical ways that homeschooling can become less tech-focused, and more focused on the non-tech versions of things.
As a very low-tech parent, we often have the television in the cupboard for long periods at a time, and have a sheet covering the TV during the week, so that nobody is tempted to watch it! After listening to Kelly, I felt even more inspired to convince my family to sell it altogether, and to never have a TV at all! I know that I would love it. I am no too sure about my family... The benefits that I have noted in my family, of a low-tv life have been documented many times in my blogs, and listening to Kelly talk about all of the interesting things that her family gets up to, really cemented that for me. If you have ever thought about going low-tech in your homeschooling, this might give you that little push!
If you haven't logged in to the summit yet, I also really liked listening to the conversation that was happening with the other families in the chat section of the summit. Although I had to listen to the re-run so couldn't join the conversation, it was really interesting to hear other parents echoing my own thoughts and observations of the behaviours in their children (both positive and negative - depending on the person) when they adjusted the tech access in their house.
Overall, a great start to the summit for me - and in a side note. I wrote this during my usual pre-bed social media time (go me!)
How do we learn to play music?
Anthropological studies have shown that children in tribes and communities traditionally learn how to play music by sitting and joining in with the adults.
They have heard music their whole lives, because they sit and listen to mother and father, aunties and uncles, sisters and brothers. Playing to the tribe. Being one part in the whole of a family.
We call this learning by immersion. But they call it living.
Children have an instrument and emulate the person next to them. Their irregularly thumping beat becomes a regular rhythm. They find their feet, and their hands. Their beat becomes the whole beat.
We call this study, practice, doing our scales. But in nature, it is living.
Left to naturally develop, in an environment that is rich with opportunity to develop, children in any society can do the same. They sit with an instrument, listen to the music that is made by others.
They play badly.
Because they don’t know how to play.
Then something changes
Their irregular thumping becomes a regular rhythm. They find their feet, and their hands. Their beat becomes like the whole beat.
And then they are playing music.