Are We Doing Enough? Our Experiment!


I think most homeschoolers ask themselves this question from time to time. Are we doing enough? It's hard to measure everything we do as so much of our days are just regular life such as a trip to the shops, bike rides, walks on the beach collecting shells.....and how can we measure the value of conversations with our children or the sibling relationships that grow and develop each day? We can't. Some learning, the important stuff, can't be measured on a standardised test. And isn't the avoidance of these measures at least partly what drew us to homeschool in the first place?

When it comes to 'how much is enough?' we sometimes have to wrestle with our own beliefs about education when we imagine the 6hr classroom day compared to our own days at home.

We returned from a week on the Gold Coast over the weekend so decided to take this week pretty easy as I'm also in the process of re-evaluating how we homeschool. I constantly fall into the 'are we doing enough?' thinking. So I embarked on an experiment and documented everything that happened on both our unstructured, unplanned days as well as the more typical homeschool days.



MONDAY

Morning 
- Playing with Lego building villages
- 2 older boys took turns doing 30 minutes of maths games on Ipad
- Trip to the shops to print photos from our holiday
- Put together photo albums, made scrapbooks with stories from our trip, brochures, photos and pictures.

Afternoon
- I went to work for 2hrs and grandma came over
- Read stories with grandma / drawing / lego
- Played superheros outside with costumes

- Went to local library for kids club - craft activity (2hrs)
- Borrowed library books / quiet reading once home

Evening
- Watched Deadly 60 animal documentary on TV with dad
- Independent bedtime reading (30 minutes)


TUESDAY

Morning
- Football cards - sorting and numbering
- 30 minutes maths games on Ipad
- Piano practice 30 minutes DS5 (he does this spontaneously!)
- Studyladder online (1hr each while I was at work)

Afternoon
- Watched funny videos on youtube
- Went to the local playground
- Went grocery shopping
- Read stories together on the couch

Evening
- Nanny came to visit and told her about our holiday

WEDNESDAY

Morning
- Regular homeschool routine which includes morning chores, devotions, character study, maths, literacy etc. and other homeschool curriculum.

Afternoon
- Swimming lessons
- Me teaching from home = kids around,  so play time with friends

Evening
- Read stories with dad

THURSDAY

Morning
- Independent / quiet reading
- Puzzles / games / toys

- Took DS7 to a homeschool group introduction to film making for kids which he loved and wants to learn more so we are considering regular film making classes

Afternoon
- Visited Christian book store / play in the indoor playground
- Selected and purchased some books
- At home DS7 sat and did some story writing for an hour while DS5 and DS3 and DD had a nap...I seized my moment and joined them!
- Piano practice for 2 older boys
- Music practice - kids got out the percussion instruments and drums and 'wrote songs' together for over an hour making videos of themselves on the Ipad
- Outside play

FRIDAY

Morning
-  Regular homeschool routine which includes morning chores, devotions, character study, maths, literacy etc. and other homeschool curriculm
- Studyladder online and skwirk

Afternoon
- Watched a movie
- Watered and looked at vege & herb garden / picked veges and herbs for dinner
- DS7 Basketball training 1hr
- DS5 & 3 Auskick football 1hr


 
This is very  different to our usual weeks which are busier and more structured but I found this experiment to be very encouraging. If I wanted to put my teacher hat on I could re-word everything with an educational focus and it would probably sound impressive. e.g the boys playing with football cards would be sorting and classifying, time in the vegie garden would fall under science etc. It reminds of when I announced on facebook that we were homeschooling and my page filled with jokes such as 'animal studies = look over the fence at the neighbours dog' and 'cultural studies - lunch at a Chinese resteraunt'. It's not about being sneaky as this is exactly what teachers do. Don't be fooled by the language or edu-speak in the Australian curriculum - viewing, presenting and evaluation is just watching a movie..but it sounds impressive doesn't it? 

What did I learn from my note taking? My kids do a lot of things that I no longer notice because it's so 'normal' such as independent, quiet reading, story writing, music practice, lego and puzzles etc...all of this is learning, natural learning, self-directed learning. It is ALL good.

My encouragement is when in times of doubt, observe and write everything down. You may find yourself amazed at what your kids have achieved in that day or week!

Comments

  1. I have undertaken exercises like these many times in the past 7 years. It's always heartwarming and refreshing to see how much learning takes place all of the time :-)

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  2. Did you decide to homeschool a few years into traditional school? I think I would love to homeschool in Australia ( I did it part time while we were living in Thailand the last 2 years), but since in know nobody who does it, I feel scared about being so different to everyone I know! I know, fear shouldn't be the factor, but it's still there. Thanks for your blog.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Lisa, my son did a year and a half of traditional school when we made the decision to try homeschooling. It's definetly a challenge to be different and most of my friends, family thought (think) I'm crazy but this feels right for us so I'm trying to stick with my convictions and not worry too much about the opinions of others. It's not always easy though!

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