Wednesday, 24 January 2007

A day in the life....

It was mostly a typical day at my house.....I was out of bed by 8am, and by the time the first kid showed his face, I was eating a late breakfast after my workout. I have to say that one of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is that you don't have to drag yourself out of bed at some unearthly hour to get the kids to school! Yesterday, I enjoyed the peace and quiet until after 11am.

I don't actually like calling what I do homeschooling any more. That word conjures up a picture of kids sitting down to lessons at the dining room table and mum being the teacher. I am pleased to say that I have found a unique private school with whom I can enroll my kids. Their philosophy matches mine - that children should be able to follow their interests, and in the process they will stay motivated and enthusiastic about learning. I guess I'd call it lifelearning or self-directed learning. Being a product of school myself, it's sometimes hard, but I have to trust that my children will learn WHAT they need to know, WHEN they need it.

Each week I send in an online report, telling my "learning consultant" what the kids have been doing that week. Unlike public school, where the only thing that counts is meeting the Learning Outcomes by following the prescribed curriculum, almost everything is a learning opportunity when viewed through the lens of lifelearning.

Today, after their late breakfast/early lunch, we took off in our van and paid a visit to the Salvation Army to donate some old clothes, dropped off our plastics at the recycling depot, and then stopped at one of my local yarn stores to meet author Kate Jacobs.

Kate Jacobs [ ] has written a book called The Friday Night Knitting Club and rather appropriately was signing her books at the yarn store today. I haven't read her book but I will certainly be looking for it at the library. It's about a single mother struggling to raise her 12 year old daughter in New York while running a small knitting shop. A friend of mine who writes articles for the local newspaper asked me to talk to Ms Jacobs on her behalf. The author was very approachable and helpful, promising to answer any questions that my friend had, and I left our email addresses with her.

Of course, one can't visit a yarn store without browsing the shelves. I went there with the intention of buying yarn for a sweater. I intend to make a seamless raglan for myself with the guidance of my guru, Elizabeth Zimmermann! I bought six 100gram balls of Marble by James C Brett. It's acrylic, but a good quality one. I've already used this yarn in a different colourway to make mittens, legwarmers and slippers, and I love the way it gently changes shades as you knit.
You probably can't appreciate the true colours from the photo above - they are earth tones - I saw a child's sweater in the store knitted up with this yarn and it was gorgeous. Hopefully my sweater will look as good.

The rest of the afternoon was spent at a friend's house with other members of our group of homelearners. The children had plenty of room to play indoors and some of them went outside in their snowsuits to check out the sledding opportunities. Unfortunately for them, our temperatures have crept above freezing this week, so it was a bit slushy, but my friend's house backs on to a slope that's perfect for sliding down. My oldest son, L, got talking to our host, J, about computers - L wants to be a graphic designer, and J used to do just that, and she offered to have him visit another time to spend time on her computer learning how to use the software. This is the sort of opportunity that one does not want to miss and we will definitely be taking J up on her offer!

This evening, after supper, the kids have had free time to do as they pleased. They have a lot of that, which I think is a good thing. I hate to be overscheduled, and I'm sure children do too.

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