My boys have been on ‘moving holidays’ for quite a while now. Three months ago when my husband Greg came up to Brisbane and I was left in Mt Gambier getting the house sorted out I decided that it would be easier if I didn’t have to think too much about ‘school work’ so I told them that helping me to pack and sorting out their stuff would be their work for the time.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love natural learning. For my older son particularly natural learning was so well, natural. He was so eager to learn and always had ideas for his next project or thing that he wanted to find out about. As long as we had lots of resources and books and went to the library a lot, he was pretty happy. For the younger two however, it’s a different story. Their days seem to be largely filled with waiting around until 4pm when they are allowed to have their screen time. I hear “I’m bored” so often now it makes up for never hearing it once while the older two were growing up. I usually counter this by telling them that it is their choice to be bored and has nothing to do with me, because you just know you could give them 100 ideas of things to do and nothing would be appealing when they are in that mood. Admittedly, there is a little bit of lego building, and a few discussions, and a limited amount of book reading or drawing and these are all great educational activities. But mostly there is niggling, and poking, and touching people with dirty feet, and wrestling games that always lead to someone getting hurt, and other things that kids do when they’re bored, and that just doesn’t work for me.
Believe me, I have tried, and will always continue to try, to encourage their natural learning with suggestions, role modelling, providing exciting resources and trying to identify their passons, but this gets pretty exhausting, especially when all your fantastically exciting suggestions are met with groans and straight out refusals.
So, we do book work. We do book work because I need to know that they are doing something educational (although I fully accept that bookwork is about the lowest form of ‘educational’ you can get). We do bookwork because sometimes I just need to make it easier for myself. And we do bookwork because it fills up some of the time in their day and seems to make them use their free time more wisely.
After three months of ‘moving holidays’ I am really wanting to get them back into a homeschooling routine, so even though it is only 3 weeks until Christmas and we have friends coming to stay and then Grandma coming to stay, I said on Monday morning, “holiday’s over” and pulled out their new workbooks. Amazingly, there wasn’t even too much complaining and even Axel co-operated and finished the page. The new books we have are ‘Homework Contracts’ which I quite like because they have a little bit of spelling, grammar, maths and science/sose on each page.
Of course we’re not just doing workbooks, but our homeschooling is a bit more structured. We have also been looking at and collecting different seed pods and now Axel is growing some bean seeds. He decided to put one in a dark place, one in a semi dark place and one in the sun, so we will see the difference as they grow.
Another thing we have been doing is recording the phases of the moom. Although the kids said they didn’t want to do this, they have often pointed out how the moon has changed so that I can add it to the chart on the whiteboard.
We played the game ‘Spellbound’ which is a great board game. I nearly got rid of it when we moved, pulling it out of the op shop pile at the last minute, and I am glad i did because the boys actually asked to play it this morning. It’s a good one because each card has words at 4 different levels so we can all play it together just spelling the words at our own level. The boys can even make it harder for me by using the list if long and tricky words that is on the box – some of them really had me thinking!
Another game we are enjoying at the moment is the Lego game ‘Shave the Sheep’. To be honest, We have been pretty disappointed with the Lego games we have bought in the past, but this little one is really cute and simple and lots of fun. We have played it lots and we all have favourite names to give our little sheep.
I’m pretty sure our homeschooling routine will crumble pretty quickly with the excitement of Christmas coming up, but at least for this week it is feeling good.
I hope you are having fun with your kids too.
All the best,