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The life and times of a home schooling mom of se7en + 1.

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Se7en + 1 Things My Homeschool Kids Don’t Know About Their Teacher…

February 22nd, 2013 · 15 Comments

So I started this year with a plan to write posts about certain themes in certain months and January was to be the month of homeschooling posts… and February… well I have a fabulous friend who so persistently asks me to write about organising… that was February’s theme… and now it is the 22 February and not an organising post in sight. I choked!!! I planned to do a tour of our school… and then move onto organising about three weeks ago… But there is a shelf of chaos that I kept meaning to sort out before I did the school tour… never got to it. Folks that is how organised I am… We are almost mid-way through our school year and the shelf of school material that I have yet to sort out, let alone use!!! So a couple of homeschool posts before I write about organising in March…

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Blessed relief, I can put off organising that shelf another week and this post on distractions let out of my keyboard… it had to be written!!! We recently posted about a typical school day, A Homeschool Day in the Life of Se7en + 1… When I began writing that post I realised that there really is no such thing as a regular day and every day is slightly different, and sometimes our days are wildly different. That is the point of having a rhythm to your day, something to fall back on when your day takes a turn away from your good intentions. I have learnt not to worry about the things that slide us from our typical school days and look at school at a week at a time or sometimes even longer. In the scheme of life a lot of things are more important than school… I know, shocking truth… but here we go:

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Se7en + 1 Distractions of a Homeschool Mother and Things I Wouldn’t Tell My Kids:

  1. I Cannot Interrupt a Good Game:
  2. I cannot disrupt children that are playing well together and the more complicated and involved the game… the better. I firmly believe that playing is far more important than workbooks. The work of children is in a word: Play. I can actually sit with a child during a quiet moment and help them get through their math exercises. But I cannot every replace the hours they spend together constructing complicated LEGO cities and intricate DUPLO landscapes with animals migrating… over the kitchen table and out into the yard. I know to us it may look like just a child’s game but to our children this is work and can take entire days… Something in me just cannot believe that the things my children learn by playing these kinds of games could ever be more valuable than a page of addition sums.

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  3. I Cannot Interrupt a Good Book:
  4. If I child is lost in a book then I consider it a giant “do not disturb button” on their heads… I know the joy of reading a book from start to finish. Just the other morning a child was curled on the couch reading Corrie Ten Boom’s, The Hiding Place. So that kid was somewhat late for scheduled school… in fact he only glanced up at lunch time and went straight back to reading. Some books are so important that one simply cannot interrupt them. I know my kids often read a book, till it is finished, by torchlight, I know they love a good book. Because of that I have made sure that their school work consists of a lot of reading of really fine books… we use Sonlight for a reason!!!

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  5. I Cannot Resist the Great Outdoors:
  6. I cannot resist a trip to the beach or up the mountain or any outdoor experience… I have a feeling my kids learn more from a walk on the mountain and stopping every now and then to look around than they will ever learn by sitting at the table. No we don’t take special equipment and endless notebook tools, we just go. You know often friends with kids in school are appalled that on a school day we head for a run on the beach. But honestly just because we homeschool doesn’t mean that my kids spend twelve hours a day at the kitchen table labouring over school books, somehow if they were running races around the track and there was a coach with a stopwatch it would be better… but actually… races to the lighthouse one or two mornings a week is good exercise and fun and totally worth running a little later with school on those days.

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  7. I Cannot Resist an Adventurous Outing:
  8. Sometimes our day gets delayed by friends, saying lets take the day off on an outing. Now, I know some folk think that homeschoolers spend their weeks traipsing from one educational outing to the next… but in our school we don’t actually!!! It is a rare treat and just like when I was in school we visited a museum once or twice a term, my kids get the same privileges… we don’t always book it months in advance and we don’t always take clipboards and fill in worksheets… but generally we grab camera’s and collect pamphlets and add a few pages in our journal when we get home.

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  9. I Cannot Resist a Great Interruption and a TimeOut with Friends:
  10. We do drop parts of our school day when we need too… Households are full of interruptions, but that is just what they are… interruptions. And they are not usually days and days off school. If we are interrupted for a particular reason, taking the car in for repairs again or a friend desperate for a sitter… I just see it as another opportunity for our children to learn or to serve… either way… interruptions tend to be a fantastic reason to interact with other folk and that’s always a good thing!!! Honestly if we miss a morning or two of school we can catch it up…

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  11. I Cannot Resist a Great Distraction and a Bit of Research:
  12. This sort of distraction is called a rabbit hole and I have to say that as we learn about a topic and something else peaks our interest… I am happy for my children to pursue it. From my own experience, things that distract me have often turned out to become things that are really important to me. When I was in primary school we had to do a project on Great Britain: Don’t die of excitement: coal mining and sheep farming in a country I had never been too… not exactly riveting stuff to an eight year old and I remember none of it!!! But I did decide to write a letter to the Queen, and I got a reply!!! And that sparked a life-long love of writing real letters to real people all over the world. Yes I am all for distractions!!!

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  13. I Cannot Resist Our Own Interruptions:
  14. I have to be honest and say that because we do quite a bit of school around the kitchen table my kids interrupt each other a fair bit!!! If I am working with one child and ask for an example of alliteration… I can guarantee you I will get eight examples!!! Similarly if one child is growing a handful of beans for school that we will end up with a veritable jungle of “eight times a handful” of beans growing on the windowsill. This is not a bad thing, whatever job my kids end up working in one day the chances are high that they are going to share an office, work around a table… share ideas and get the job done – no matter what their co-workers are doing.

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    And the se7en + 1th

  15. But I Totally Can Resist The Internet For Hours on End:
  16. So many of the distractions in our school day have been my own, like checking my phone for an email. What I have discovered is how much I get done every time there is a power failure or the internet is down and how much I enjoy it. It is a magical gift of time. Projects completed, cupboards in order, school done timeously – a particular shelf not necessarily sorted!!! So I had this epiphany and I imposed a self-inflicted power-failure during vast chunks of our day. Gone is early morning computer time and my kids are continuously surprised when I am up and ready for the day and going… and they haven’t had a chance to sneak in a little screen time!!! Like where did their time go – their mother reclaimed it!!!

In the scheme of things school goes on and their are seasons when school seems to consist of more interruptions than actual school… but as my kids always say to me, and I have no idea where they might have learnt this (!!!): ” Are we learning, Mam, are we learning?” and the truth is we are homeschooling is a way of life and certainly what happens around the kitchen table is only a very small part of the entire learning process.

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Tags: Organizing School · Se7en at School

15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Nadja // Feb 22, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    I could have written this post myself, as I have the same “weaknesses”! I have been known to blow off a morning’s schooling just because the kids are involved in a game and are getting on famously and having a grand time of it. Or because after a slew of ugly days, the sun is shining and the kids need to get out in it. Or my son will have the day off because he isn’t a big reader, but he found this fantastic novel at the library and can’t put it down. Why should text-book learning or anything else be more important than these? It is a marvelous thing to enjoy something, and who am I to cut it off?

    Loved your post; thank you–I feel justified!

  • 2 Rikki // Feb 22, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    Thank you for the reminder that there is so much more to homeschooling than book work. My mom worked in public school for many years and there are times when I’m sure she wonders about my kids and their schooling because we seem to take time off of book work so often. Actually my son has done about 80 percent of his school work for the year- all of the books to be read have been read, he is down to math and handwriting.

  • 3 se7en // Feb 23, 2013 at 1:34 am

    Hay Nadja, So glad that you also take days off for important reasons like reading a fabulous book!!! I know I just can’t help myself… and as for my crowd of kids all playing nicely together… well gasp… that is simply living the dream!!! Hope you have a fun weekend!!!

  • 4 se7en // Feb 23, 2013 at 1:44 am

    Hay Rikki, I know some folks do rather look at our kids oddly about the amount of school they do. We have a grown up friend who keeps asking one of my children how their school is going, and week after week my daughter says: “We aren’t doing school right now!!!” Actually we are totally!!! Anyway the friend changed tack and asked my daughter if she had learnt anything during the past week, and my daughter replied, “Oh yes, ratio…” And the friend smiled knowingly and said: “That must have been tricky, your mum must have sat with you for quite a while.” She received a very quizzical look and my daughter said: “No, I looked it up in a book…” There was an audible gasp… and the friend looked at me and said: “You did test her?” And I smiled and said: “No we never do tests, if my kids don’t understand something then they will ask for help.” I have a feeling that that friend was a whole lot happier when we “weren’t” doing any school. She is quite convinced that my children are being left way behind their peers!!! Just the idea that school might look anything other than sitting in a desk half the day seems to bother some folk!!! I suggested that my daughter talk about anything else, when quizzed about school in future!!! Hope you have a fun weekend!!!

  • 5 Kirsten // Feb 23, 2013 at 2:19 am

    Oh. Yes. Especially #1. And oh, if only we had a beach, we would do beach days every week!
    Kirsten´s last blog post ..Rainbows

  • 6 se7en // Feb 23, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Thank you, Kristen… Oh we do have heaps of beach days!!! We have a beach and a mountain and some wetlands to poke around in, all within walking distance… really so many wonderful distractions, we are totally spoilt!!! Hope you have a brilliant weekend!!!

  • 7 Tammy // Feb 24, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Love the comments here, great post thank you! A good reminder to help me feel “not so guilty” for not caring very much about “school” at the moment!

  • 8 Lauren // Feb 24, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    You are so right that relationships and time to pursue interests takes precedence over anything else! I believe this with all my heart and I so badly needed to hear this message again. I know I get cranky when my interests get sidelined or even worse, trivialized. Why wouldn’t we give our kids the same respect we hope for? How will they ever learn that other than by example? You are a great source of encouragement to me,
    thank you!
    Can I ask where you found that fabulous map your little guy is looking at in the photo? It looks wonderful–and durable!

  • 9 se7en // Feb 24, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    Loving the comments too, Tammy!!! Homeschooling really does allow us to celebrate the seasons of life… there are times when we work really hard in an unstoppable way and other times when we need to just stop and smell the roses!!! Hope you guys have a great week!!!

  • 10 Anel // Feb 25, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Hi, Seven. Once again. Great perspective for me as non-homeschooling mother. It realy sounds like you live the life of your conviction. Without fretting about what other people think. Way to go!

  • 11 se7en // Feb 25, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Thank you Anel, I am glad you enjoyed the post!!! Blogging is such a great way to share a way of life, without imposing it!!! Hope you have a great week!!!

  • 12 katherine marie // Feb 27, 2013 at 4:05 am

    this post made me SMILE!!!! I love reading all about you! :):)

  • 13 se7en // Feb 27, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Oh Katherine Marie, I love your comments… I can see you reading away… all these endless posts!!! I am so glad to have you following us, you are such an encouragement!!!

  • 14 Lisa // Dec 15, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    I absolutely love reading your posts! I always feel so encouraged!! Question…When you take time off for distractions, daytrips or sickdays, do you still have your kids finish out their Sonlight week? Or do you just have them pickup where they left off and bring their current schoolwork into the next calendar week? I cannot seem to find a balance with this. I usually give them a new Sonlight week every Monday and ask that they finish it by Saturday night or earlier. This keeps the pressure on to accomplish their work. But at the same time I want them to enjoy their studies and work at their own pace without all the pressure that I felt when I was in public school. Any comments or recommendations?

  • 15 se7en // Dec 18, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Hay Lisa, That’s a good question… I’m going to add it to my list of Sonlight questions… for a future post. But in the meantime, I do weight our week. I aim to finish all our work by Friday, but we work harder at the beginning of the week and taper towards the end of the week. Mondays we do as much as we can and then the week winds down towards Friday and I plot and plan outings or beach days for Fridays. We never ever work on Saturdays and Sundays… work has to get done in the week!!! That being said, if we don’t finish absolutely everything I let it go, we always do all the reading, but we might miss a workbook or two… If my kids were in school and missed the odd test or paper hand in they would lose marks… if they miss out of two workbook pages in a book of 200 pages, then that’s about 99% and I am really ok with that!!! So we leave the odd thing out and never look back. Every Monday starts fresh and we move forward. Should we miss three days in a week or four – horrors… it can happen then we just totally give up on that week and start the next week fresh at the beginning again of that same week again. Hope that all helps and that you get a good break over the holidays!!!

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