By Sarah Botting
Lola is eight years old and Elena is six years old, and we have been home educating for a year now. We follow a very play-based, self-led approach, along with some printed curriculum based on current interests and some textbooks. I find some weeks the girls are driven to learn from the books, and happily ask to do more or choose which curriculum they want to follow. Some weeks they aren’t interested at all, and that’s OK. Each day starts with reading, then moving on to breakfast and feeding our dogs, before getting ready for either our learning activities if we are at home or, if leaving the house for an outing, we pack what is needed for the day.
On weekends, and sometimes during the week, we love to go camping in nature. Most recently we have been learning how to light a fire for food and warmth and being safe around fire. We’ve been learning how to cook on an open fire, and have also been doing this at home some days. During their spare time in the afternoons, the girls spend time in the garage, and outside with their dad, learning how to use tools safely.
This is our home day. We start our day with about 20 minutes of kids yoga, then move on to reading. Lola loves reading, and Elena is learning to read, so for her this time is exciting when she masters another book without help. We work on handwriting on a Monday, usually with a fun activity, some story writing or silly sentences (this is a game where you select random cards to make a silly sentence; the girls find this hilarious and it keeps them motivated to write).
On Mondays we also try and fit in some sort of art/craft activity. The girls love using drawing tutorials from YouTube or a science experiment. In the afternoon the girls have dance class
Tuesdays are our busy day. We have our local home ed co-op. This is unstructured, and generally led by the kids. It’s at a hall attached to a playground, so includes lots of imaginative play, some drawing, games and puzzles. This year the kids wanted to put on ‘plays’ for us, so they work together putting together a small performance. They also like to paint and do crafts, with supplies always available at the hall. In the afternoon the girls have speech therapy and two dance classes.
On Wednesday afternoons Lola and Elena have dance classes. They dance most days of the week, but Wednesdays are our long night as they both have three classes each, They both do classical ballet, which covers many key learning areas of the Victorian curriculum including Art, Languages (French), Health & PE, HASS & Music. Over the past year, I have learnt very quickly how much everyday things contribute to learning.
Thursday is our ‘free’ day. We use this to plan catch-ups with friends, visits to the zoo and other types of outings. Some weeks we go to the library, or we’ve been known to just stay at home in our pyjamas. If we do choose to stay home, we usually watch a documentary. Both girls also love to finish each day off with watching a documentary.
On Friday we do our learning in the car. Usually, some reading and some learning on the iPad. Some of their most favourite iPad learning games are Prodigy Maths, Reading Eggs and Minecraft.
I have a back injury, so I attend physical rehabilitation. While I do this, Lola and Elena go to visit their cousin Scarlett for the day. While there they usually play ‘mud kitchen’, with their dolls or go for a walk to the park together.
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