Monday, September 28, 2009

Freestyle school

Mostly, people think they know what a school day involves.  When you tell someone you're home schooling your children, they want to know what you DO with your kids.  All day, every day?

At our place, we live, we laugh and we learn (thanks, Diana Waring, for this trio) pretty much all the time and anywhere.  We do 'school' for only a few hours a week.  We read voraciously, talk, sing and tell stories, draw, write and trace, we play a lot! 

We are eclectic homeschoolers, as I choose bits of many methods, and odd pages of this and that resource which suit us at the time.  I now like to say that we are Tidal Homeschoolers (thanks, Melissa Wiley for your website, and Kez for telling me about it), which explains the way we go with the flow of life and the seasons.  

At high tide, we have done unit studies on Rainbows, Mammals, The Five Senses ... we do lots of science and art, and make lapbooks, posters or books.  We play the trading game with Base 1o blocks, learn new phonograms in phonics (ar, ee, ir, er, ur, ear and wor this month) and listen to the kids read (often for chocolate).  We explore topics using library books, documentaries and cartoons (many a time has been when George the monkey or Charlie and Lola have been playing with the same topic as us!).  We clock up hours on computer programs like Mathletics, Starfall, Reading Eggs and Intrepica.  We read Bible stories, cook, do craft, painting, sewing, make music and dance.  Amongst this we go to homeschool excursions, play dates and fellowship.  These are fun-filled, busy days.  We buzz with energy and ideas, asking questions and looking for answers.  

At low tide, we sometimes stay in pyjamas until mid morning.  The kids unpack all the books from the shelves, then sing and read their way through a pile as tall as they are.  I read them another stack.  They play doctors, vets or shops, and put on ballet concerts for the teddies, dolls and mummy.  I clean to a serenade of drum solos, guitar jam sessions and keyboard chaos.  The kids swing, climb and scoot around the yard, watching ants and our resident blue-tongue lizard go about their business.  We thread beads, listen to CDs, surf the net and play with play dough.  The kids build new worlds with lego, train sets, blocks and boxes, or make blanket cubbies.  We play snakes and ladders, Uno, Mastermind and Monopoly.  A game of 'I went camping and in the boot I put ...' is full of crazy ideas and ends in giggles.  There are tender cuddles, dreams shared and hopes expressed.

We can't predict when the tide will be high or low, but it has a rhythm which is fun to ride.  We like the varied pace, being able to fly to infinity and beyond, then float gently back to earth.  

At present, it's low tide in regard to school work.  The workboxes have been neglected for a couple of weeks, as we've had visits with friends, excursions, swimming, gymnastics, started ballet (Miss 4) and set up a quarry in the backyard (Mr 5).  We've read a ton of library books about mammals, a steady stream of picture books, listened to Heidi and Blinky Bill on CD,  and generally enjoyed being outdoors on fragrant spring days.

Time to catch some zzz's ... it's tiring being this relaxed!

(PS. note the wry laughter in the background as I secretly recall the tantrums of over stimulated children, and the long list of spring cleaning still to be tackled ... we might go back to high tide school soon for a rest.  Does it work that way?)


  1. love the post! Life sounds very similar to how it works around here :)

  2. Tidal homeschooling - sounds familiar! Now I have a name to describe it. Lovely blog!


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