'School Without Walls' - part 1
Just before Easter, my children's school closed permanently. It was sad for the children and for us, as the kids had been there since they were in kindergarten - 9 years in total.
We have a plan for September and they will move to a different school on the island - one which we believe will suit them both perfectly for their secondary education.
In the meanwhile - we decided that this was an opportunity for a family adventure! Watch this space for further info about this.
In order to allow the family adventure to unfold we would need to homeschool for the final term of what is year 7 for our children (they are twins).
The kids were up for it and we thought we could handle the challenge for one term without detrimentally affecting their education.
The "School Without Walls" classroom!
More importantly we both firmly believed that home schooling could be accomplished in fewer hours per day (and fewer days per week) and that the children could explore their passions in the increased time available.
We knew that we would have some negotiating to do as a family so we (the parents) drew up a contract which covered the terms under which the whole escapade could come to fruition. This covered practical things such as subjects to be covered, location of school and the hours, as well as some rules around attitude, behavior, use of devices etc and the repercussions should these be breached. If you want a copy of the contract, just let me know!
We decided to focus our attention around the core subjects of Maths, English and Science - with some current affairs and maybe a practical project thrown in. The kids also have to commit to doing some reading and exercise each day. The teachers at our old school were all super-helpful and willing to share their lesson plans for term 3 with us and the new school were also very obliging in advising what text books they use, so that we could get the children used to these, as well as ensuring that they covered what they need to.
Because we can, we will change everything up a bit and add some other elements to school that we believe are valuable and reflect our own beliefs. So for example, we start each day with a morning meditation - surprisingly there has not been too much resistance from the children to this and - dare I say - they even seem to enjoy it
Our meditation space
P.E looks a bit different too... but more about this in a later post.
As we know our children well, we get to engage our children in ways that we know will help them to learn.
So the upshot of week 1 can only be described as like 'breaking in horses'.
We made it through 2 days and then school was cancelled for a day due to lateness, truancy and 'attitude' - the teachers went out, leaving the students to amuse themselves without xboxes, laptops and phones. Much Lego was made!
The following day - no one was at the table by the start of school - so out we went again - telling the children that the family adventure was cancelled (at least for them) and that we were bringing forward the start date at the new school.
After tears, renewed promises and hugs - school finally started albeit late that day.
So - here we are at the end of week 1, exhausted but wiser and in awe of teachers the world over who do this day-in day-out for classes of 25 or more students.
Watch this space for further updates.