Thursday, 31 March 2011

We don't have to leave home to be busy homeschoolers y'know

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

It is not unusual for me to be awake at 3.30 in the morning -- and this morning just so happened to be one of those mornings.  More often than not I will drift back to slumber, but today I ended up climbing out of bed because I simply couldn't get back to sleep.  Perhaps my mind was too busy racing with the classical studies assessment I haven't completed yet.  I've made four pages so far -- but I've got to make six to eight pages; or perhaps I couldn't sleep because I knew tama 1 hadn't finished the required reading for this morning's mythology class; or perhaps it was because I wanted to make sure I didn't miss the Science Jim class at 6.00am.  Then again, maybe I had far too many coffees last night?

Whatever the cause, I was out of bed and downstairs by 4 o'clock.  I even snuck out of the house to gather some firewood and had the room nice and toasty warm for tama 1 and tamāhine 1 by the time I woke them at 6.00am.  (On an aside: I can hardly wait to have insulation and gibbing downstairs -- just imagine how much warmer it will be when we come down in the mornings, yay.)

Hopefully you'll notice the arrow pointing to my name in the list of participants, just in case you think we weren't really part of the live class.

The children and I felt very special that Science Jim made mention of us being from New Zealand.
Tama 1 and tamāhine 1 bounced out of bed and were alert within a few minutes - pretty easy when Science Jim is so entertaining.  He has such a fantastic way of communicating his message across.  This is the first time they've ever done homeschooling in their pj's -- how many regular school children can say they get to do the same?
Some parents would probably look at the start time of 6am and gawp, but they'll gawp even more when I say that next week (due to the end of Daylight Savings in New Zealand), it means we will start classes at 5.00am.

I don't actually expect the children to wake up at 5.00am, but if they manage to do it, then great. When I initially spoke to the children about registering for the class, they were only "kinda" interested.  However, here's one of the beauties of online classes.  Sometimes (and Science Jim lessons just so happen to be a great example) you can watch a previous lesson or two.  As soon as the children had watched two of his classes they were hooked.  "Yep, I'll get up!" they said, "Even when it means waking up at 5.00am after Daylight Savings ends?" They reckon they can do it, so we'll give it a go.

Back to my point about watching a previous lesson or two.  Let me put this to you ... if we enrolled our children in a regular school, would we be encouraged to sit in and watch a lesson or ten of each subject to see whether we liked it or not? .... I'm pretty sure the answer would be, "no," wouldn't you say?

And while I'm on the topic of regular school classes, do they allow me to watch and re-watch as many times as I like, a recording of any classes our children are enrolled in?  ... I'm pretty sure the answer would again be, "no."

Here's one more to throw in ... when children go to regular schools, they usually have one teacher all year, with one style of teaching.  I like the fact I can find books and websites to teach the children myself, as well as find online classes (either short or long) with teachers of varying styles and interest.  I guess what I'm saying is, I enjoy giving the children a very broad education.  As homeschoolers, if we find a curriculum doesn't work for us, then we can try something else.  If we sent the children to school we'd either have to like it or lump it, or if necessary we would have to pull them out of one school only to enrol them in another.

If we choose to have the children registered in online classes and classes just so happen to be at 3.15am or 5.00am then I have no problem with it.  Why?  Because (1) we can either wake up, watch it, and then hit the hay for a few hours, and (2) We can rewind, replay and capture all the important points we missed the first time round.   (3) One, two, three or more of the children (and I) can watch the live class. They also get to socialise with children from other nations -- within the safety of our home.  No bullies, no wasted class time, and loads of fun.

Whichever way you look at it, having a home education is by far the greatest way to learn.

This post is by no means written in defence of why I choose to blend online classes with our homeschooling method.  It just so happened that my conversation flowed as to some of the reasons why we love it so much.  For an early morning start, we're feeling in very high spirits.

Our plan for the very early morning classes, is to camp downstairs the night before.  That way the children can climb up onto computer chairs, or simply watch from their mattresses.  Having a camp-out.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

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