We have been spending a lot of time outside since we got into a homeschool rhythm after new year. Partly because we love exploring new places and partly because it it a good way to let the kid blow off steam and relax in the absence of her usual buddies and playdates.
I have found that a more relaxed approach to learning and homeschool suits us best. There is no timetable or weekly goals that need to be reached. Everyday we pick a couple of subjects or learning ideas and fit them around outdoor exploring or organised homeschool activities such as Forest School or the Community Farm.
We don’t un-school in the purest sense as we do use learning materials, but we do allow the kid to drive the intensity and direction. She loves to read and write with no added encouragement from us at all. She writes my weekly shopping lists, notes to remind me about things I need to do. She has a story book she writes a few times a week and she takes a nature journal out on lots of her walks.
The past couple of weeks we have gravitated to more art and craft than we were perhaps doing before. May be the wet weather has forced us to be more creative inside!? We have used clay for crafting pots and coasters and ornaments. Painting and decorating them. Wet on wet water colour is a favourite and also general colouring and picture drawing. Stamp making. She and her dad are making a rubber band ball solar system as a science project.
We have just started ‘The Story of the World’ as a history read-aloud. Partly as there is only so much Enid Blyton that a parent can take and we are trying to make sure that we do at least 20 mins reading aloud a day (have a look at ‘Read Aloud Revival’- its an interesting resource) and I figured throwing in a little world history a couple of days a week could be fun.
Maths and numbers she doesn’t find so easy and we are consciously trying not to push to hard as I feel that its something she will come to in her own time. She enjoys the MEP workbooks and likes to do a couple of pages by herself before asking me to check how she’s doing. They progress slowly and are repetitive which I feel is giving her confidence.
Homeschooling is a funny thing, it can be so hard to know if you are doing it ‘right’. If your child is ‘on track’. As I get into our second year I feel a lot more confident in saying ‘this works for us’. Most recently the funniest thing people have asked (after the usual boring ‘socialisation’ questions – yawn) is if we will homeschool ‘forever’. Well no, at some point the kid will hopefully leave home and become a functioning adult. Will we homeschool through to high-school. May be. Or she might decide school is the best thing ever in 6 months and leave me bereft at home all by myself, surrounded by craft supplies and books. Whichever way, we will support her.
These were taken (mostly by hubby) at a couple of the different walks we did last week. Water, and waterfalls is a bit of a theme at the moment as we are doing a lot of glen walks. Spring is slowly coming and we are seeing snowdrops peeking out and daffodils starting to bloom.
The kid is loving all the outdoor activities and hiking that we have been able to do. I am really enjoying being able to make sure that being outside, just following a path with no schedule or goal is a regular part of each week. I have noticed it has a positive impact on her school work and attitude when she’s had a dose of outdoor nature exploring and stress free time.
We are doing the Wild Explorers Club assignments which I signed up for a few weeks ago. I wasn’t sure if it would be a hit with the kid or not, but so far she’s loving the little videos every week and having a outdoor explorer ‘goal’ to work towards. This isn’t a sponsored post, just something that Ive found really great for instigating ‘get outdoors’ when its been cold, damp and grey!
Hubby’s big christmas pressie was a MavicPro drone. He ordered one ages ago (before we came away travelling). He got horribly caught in the pre-order delays so sadly cancelled as no-one could tell him when his might actually arrive and then he found one through his geek forums. So happy!
He hasn’t been able to fly it as much as he hoped recently due to the winds, but he’s had a few little trips out and about. We had a Phantom drone previously but this ones just so amazing. It’s so teeny and easy to take out and about (the same was not true of the Phantom!) and easy to use. The kid loves to launch and land it as it has an auto launch and land button (literally!!)
There isn’t much snow in the Isle of Man. And by that I mean it very very rarely snows. And when it does its fleeting and up high. So last week we felt especially lucky to head out walking early in the morning to see Snaefell under a cloud with a white dusting. All plans for a glen walk went out the window and off we headed up the mountain road (past the ice warnings, lamenting the fact we are driving a mini not a 4×4)
We got to the top of the road and parked up on an icy carpark which was melting fast. The sun was coming out fleetingly through thick clouds and the temperate while still biting with the wind, was warming up. Which honestly was good as I hadn’t packed for snow. And certainly not snow on the top of a mountain.
Snaefell is a mountain. But not by a lot; 37 feet to be exact. But its still a mountain and the kid was absolutely determined this was going to be her first snow capped mountain climb. Gumboots, wooly hat, a solo glove and her lighter Therm jacket (we wished we had their new season ski jacket with us as it is super padded) kept her warm enough with the exertion of climbing. The kid powered up, even the steep slippery section right below the summit didn’t phase her. At the top the clouds parted momentarily and the views were amazing.
After climbing up the east side we decided to walk back around the west facing back of the slope; along the rail-line that runs in the summer months. The sun hadn’t reached the back so it was lovely and not melting yet. By the time we got back round to the car the snow and ice in the car park was gone. The sunny eastern side of the hill was running with water and nothing more than slush.
The kid has ticked off ‘climbed her first snow capped mountain’ off her to do list and we got to see some of the most amazing views. A great day and one that made dragging ourselves up and out fairly early and in the cold totally and definitely worth it.
After so much illness over the new year, a nasty virus causing a persistent cough for hubby (a cough when you already have headaches is basically torture), chicken pox for me and then the kid. It was a relief to finally all feel well enough to get out and about and do a little exploring of the island that we are visiting.
We are on the Isle of Man – we have family here and its a great place to explore and adventure from. We reached dead end with the specialists in New Zealand (thankfully after ruling out a tumour or a bleed) for hubbys headaches so have found a neurologist at a specialist clinic on the mainland who is helping get to the root of and treat, the headaches that plagued him. Not occasional headaches that flare twice a week – but constant, unrelenting pain 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
While we are here we are embracing island life, walking in glens and climbing mountains. Also wearing our rain gear to the max – the climate here is best described as damp and we refuse to be kept indoors by a little bit of rain or fog.
My goal is to get my camera out of its bag and start getting back into taking pictures and blogging our adventures again. I have missed this space over the past weeks and as we are more settled it feels like time to dust off Lightroom and get back into it.