I've had so many friends ask us lately what I actually do at home with my boys. Seems people either think I get my boys to sit a desk from 9am til 3pm with a few short breaks or the other extreme I just let them run wild through the house and do as they please. Well yes some days they do more as they please but it's on those days that I just steer them into a learning direction that they don't even realise.
This year we found a local homeschooling group which has already been established for quite a few years. They consist of a very organised group of Homeschooling Mums that together formed a committee (much like the P&C committees within the state school system). They each have their roles and organise excursions, plays in various parks and what they call Lucky Monday classes. These classes are held within a local community centre and are set to a timetable for different age levels. My boys have had the joy of partaking in Spanish, Art, Drama, Science and this term Martial Arts lessons. The classes are mostly run by professionals in their field and we pay a small charge for each class that they take part in.
The thing I love the most about Lucky Mondays is that it's a great opportunity for the boys to join with peers to learn in an environment away from home. It's like a classroom setting similar to what they'd be receiving at a standard school, yet the Mums get to be there for support or assistance should they need it. It's a relatively short day, compared to standard school. My boys usually do 2-3 lessons on those Mondays so it's never longer than a 3 hour day of learning, which is about the extent of my boys concentration right now. They are small classes, usually around 5-10 kids per class so it's generally more hands-on and I know with Bailey he feels much more comfortable learning in a smaller setting.
The Homeschool group also organise various sporting activities for the kids. My boys have participated this year in weekly Sports and physical skill lessons run by the Life Be In It association. They've also done some swimming lessons with their homeschooling friends. This will be starting up again in the warmer months. Most of these activities have a cost involved but I've found it much cheaper than if I just sent them on their own, as we receive a group booking discount. I'm sure in the next couple of years I'll also look to putting them into other sports that are organised such as Rock climbing, golf and tennis.
My boys see their friends each week at Monday classes, Tuesdays sports and then at a park, excursion or a friend's home at least once a week. The other times of the week we spend reading, doing art and craft, watching educational documentaries, brainstorming and learning together on new topics, practising handwriting, mathematics worksheets, educational computer games and a host of other activities. They certainly get plenty of chances to socialise with their friends and also an array of learning experiences each and every week.
We've been so very lucky to find this group of Homeschoolers and I've loved seeing my boys make great friendships with some of the other kids. I've also been blessed to meet some amazing friends, mothers who want the same things for their kids, women with a wealth of knowledge in so many areas of life. Homeschooling has been a huge change in lifestyle for us. It's been the best decision I've ever made for my children and one I don't foresee ever regretting.
Thanks for reading
(Life Be In It classes)
(Dane and I at an environmental learning centre)