Sunday, May 2, 2010

Feeling A Little Home-school…

We have been on the road since the 14th of December 2009! And whilst our children have not been receiving a traditional education….the experiences they have had up to this point have certainly made an impact! We had a rough introduction to school, with a severe financial hurdle preventing us from purchasing school curriculums. I felt for our Teacher at Groves, who tried so hard to help us give the children “something” constructive to do. We really appreciate him.

We finally received all our schoolwork near the end of Term 1, when we were staying at Myrtle Park, halfway between Launceston and Scottsdale. It was like Christmas!!! Everyone cheered with the arrival of each package. Up until that point we told the children that they were still doing school, just not in a classroom….we were observing Platypus in their natural habitat, seeing Hydro-electric schemes, Wind Farms, using solar energy to charge our batteries, visiting places steeped in (convict/Early Australian) History & displays of amazing feats of engineering…like Port Arthur, Richmond, Ross, Campbelltown (where the first telephone call in the southern Hemisphere was made)…..experiencing hands-on the inner workings of a mine at the Beaconsfield mine & Heritage Centre, exploring the Hobart Museum (particularly the Snow And Ice Display), visiting natural wonders like  Blowholes and Tessellated Pavement on Eagle-Hawk Neck, enduring very chilly temperatures to witness first-hand 100’s of ‘Little Penguins’ swimming in to the beach to roost for the night, calling to their partners and exiting the water en-masse. We’ve walked through some picturesque places, seen gorges and canyons and caves. Been to isolated places where we were the only ones camping, or walking on the beach. We’ve stood in silent respect for the fallen as we’ve wandered through amazing wood carvings depicting those that left to fight for our freedom never to return. We’ve been through drought-stricken areas and beautiful lush agricultural areas. We’ve seen the Mighty Murray River, heard the Paddle Steamer whistle, even caught a Murray Cod (they do exist!). We’ve watched a Paddle Steamer travel through a lock. Witnessed a locust plague first hand. Lived in community with numerous insects and arachnids. Travelled through fire-ravaged places that are now showing signs of new growth. Gained an understanding of the Goldfields and seen the remnants of fossicking on a large scale. And currently we are in Melbourne…a city known for it’s trams, culture and changeable weather… So yes they have been getting an education.

We are very happily plodding through our newly purchased Curriculums though. The children looooove their Abeka Science. They enjoy doing their Maths because it’s fun…check out Maths-U-See. Brilliant! I have really loved the hands-on approach that Rosa and Connor’s English curriculum has (Learning Language Arts Through Literature)….it’s so good! And the older girls are utilising the Groves Christian College English curriculum which is good…but they are a bit stressed about being behind, still finishing off term one work. We have R.I.C for Social studies, which is touching on a number of the things we have actually seen. Our only regret so far is that we can’t continue their learning in Italian like we had wanted. Hopefully we will be able to purchase that Curriculum down the track, but at this stage in time at $350 we just cannot afford it.

It’s all well and good to say we’re doing school, but the way it actually takes place is many and varied. Sometimes we school all day, some-times on holidays, sometimes we can’t because we’re travelling! Other days it’s so cold and wet that we seek out a local library and do our work there for the day. Mostly though School happens up until Lunch time. All the children love to read, so that helps enormously. They all love to play “Take 2” which also helps with their spelling. There are times that I wish money was no object and we could just provide each of them with MP3 players for the rote learning stuff, and possibly talking books etc. Currently we share 3 between 5 of us, with only one decent set of earphones. We all really enjoy listening to Dramatised stories as we travel, for example “The Narnia Series” we are working our way through (We’ve just finished “Prince Caspian”) and “Adventures In Odyssey”, short stories with a message put out by Focus On The Family. We love our music…listening to many and varied Christian Praise & worship artists/compilations, as well as numerous others.

And as for learning about and experiencing God. Wow! What a journey this has been. The testing of our faith, the beautiful provision of our Lord, the surrendering of our agenda to go where He would have us go…The seeking His face and His will and His agenda for us….Yes I do believe the children are learning a great deal about our Awesome God! We see his hand often, and many many times we have looked back to see His fingerprints, evidence that He has had His hand upon us and is guiding us every step of the way…… We revel in His creation, delight in His word and enjoy His people.


Michele said...

well done for giving them such a great unschooling/homeschooling experience with all the barriers and hurdles

sure they will never be "behind" - money cant buy these experiences

Bronwyn said...

You're doing a fabulous job Karen.Just thought I would let you know that JB HiFI have fantastic little ear bud ear phones for $15 a set -they cancel out all the outside noise. Hope this small thing helps.