02 April 2010

The Learning Lifestyle

I knew it, but did I believe it...?

A year ago we started with ‘Exploring Creation with Botany’, as part of Science.  We did the first chapter, but it was al lot of information and it didn’t really interest Heidi-Mari and Josua.  Since I believe the learning experience must be fun, we decided to put it on hold for a few months.  The few months become a year, but in the beginning of March, this year, we pulled out the book and Lapbook PDF files again.  Huge was my surprise at their enthusiasm, as we read through the fist chapter to recap all the ‘boring information’ that we received totally different, a year ago! 
What could be the reason, I wondered for a minute? 
A few real life experiences, made the difference!

In September last year we started our vegetable garden.  

We built raised beds, and did a lot of research on the right soil composition and 

started our own compost heap.  

We wanted our vegetable garden to be totally organic so we got two Bokashi bins for our kitchen left overs and 

learned about liquid fertilizer. 

Sowing organic seeds was the next step and we discovered that we needed a hot box.  

We remembered the Botany book had a hot box assignment and we built it from the instructions given.  

The past few months we laboured hard, to grow our own vegetables and ran into a few stumbling blocks.  Every time we spontaneously did research, to find a solution.
For example: we got a worm farm, which didn’t seem to flourish. After looking into the matter and making a few changes, our worm farm is now on the go!
We discovered our new seedlings became yellow right after they’d been replanted. After research we discovered it was due to a lack of nitrogen in the ‘not-well-enough-decomposed-horse-manure‘. The use of coffee beans and liquid fertilizer solved the problem and put back nitrogen into the soil.
On one of Christo and my date-nights, we were browsing through a bookstore and I paged through Jane’s Delicious Garden.  Christo bought it for me and we got experienced advice on our vegetable garden in there.

We had to hand pollinate our butternuts, with no success and learned a valuable lesson on GMS and the Terminator or Death Gene. The butternut seeds were taken from an “organic” butternut we had for dinner.  An excellent example of the wrong perceptions surrounding organic farming. Often “organic” only means no pesticides were used during growing, but most probably genetically modified for a hundred and one reasons.  This means the end product is totally different from the originally seed created by God and NOT good and nutritious for human consumption any more. It also has the implications that we have to buy new seed for every season! That was not God’s intention! This sparked a lot of conversations around the dinner table.
Thus, as we read through the first chapter again, Botany all of a sudden become alive!  Heidi-Mari and Josua could relate to the classification of plants, giving their own examples and become so excited (and distracted, as we did even more detailed classification, only on the knowledge we gained during the past 6 months!)
A few nights ago, while I was awake, nursing Michael, taking care of a feverish Daniel and helping David to go potty twice, a crucial piece of information hit home!  Children don’t learn through textbooks, they learn through REAL LIFE! I knew this and I’ve told numerous young home school mothers to only do REAL LIFE, but deep inside I was sometimes concerned, because I didn’t do textbooks!  Aren’t I depriving my children knowledge, by not using a variety of textbooks? 
I now believe myself!  

Through the fun time my children had in growing their own vegetable garden they learned even more than what we would have learned in the Botany book.  Oh, the Botany book is great and they are now digging into the activities with great enthusiasm, but only because they were introduced to the topic in real life and they “needed” the information to make a success of their vegetable garden.  
Now it is a relevant topic!
The past two weeks, we didn’t do much ‘school’.

Christo moved his health shop to bigger premises. 

He and the two older boys did the shop fitting themselves.  
They worked every night till 21h00, they didn’t even come home for dinner, I had to plan the evening meals, so it would be possible for them to ‘stand’ and eat while they worked!  During the day the boys were tired and I had to lower my expectations for the amount of maths, language arts and science they could manage.  But oh!  I saw the satisfaction in my boys eyes, even their body language were different.  They were doing real life!  Learning carpentry and exercised practical measurement. They learned more in those few days than maths books or any other textbook could teach them!

Heidi-Mari and Danika also went to help moving the shop over the weekend. (Read everything about the move on her blog)  
Heidi-Mari was so capable of getting the shop organized, Christo asked her to help out in the shop during April, packaging and labeling products, since one of Christo’s assistants resigned. She will now be in the shop a few hours a week, getting valuable retail experience! More than what any economics textbook can teach her.

The girls also experienced real life in helping me preparing meals; 

taking care of babies and toddlers, doing laundry; and

cleaning the house.  

If only I had the knowledge about babies, food and food preparation, Heidi-Mari has at her young age of 12!  Wow, my life with my firstborn would have been so much easier, 

not to mention how much healthier my husband and baby would have been!  
Some information you can only learn through real life and you won’t be able to get it in any textbook. That’s what home schooling is all about!
In our home school, every year we have a more relaxed learning lifestyle. 

I want to agree with Generation Cedar: Relaxed homeschooling, doesn't mean you don't sit down and do "school work".  It just means "think outside the classroom" too, and a few text books and worksheets are tools, while education extends far beyond them.
A lifestyle of learning seems not only more natural and comprehensive, but easier to implement as a busy mom."



Sonja said...

Daar is nou n bewys dat kinders soveel leer deur deel te wees van hulle huishouding elke dag! Wat n pragtige gesin is julle! Oe ek wens ek kan in daai health shop kom krap!!!Ek is altyd hier in een of ander health shop, en ek raak skoon opgewonde as ek op n nuwe een afkom! Geluk met julle groter winkel, dit lyk pragtig!

Petra said...

I agree, but like you said, it is as if you grow into it each year. Our drawback might be that we were schooled and often still think along those lines, it is part of our make-up. Our children in turn, when they educate their children at home, will probably be more "free-thinking".

Joyfulmama said...

I have really been looking forward to this post since our conversation a while back! Your Titus 2 wisdom is such an encouragement to this young mamma! I cannot agree with you more that real life is the best 'school' for our children. As they cook with us and clean with us and help with the baby and the garden, we get such a wonderful opportunity to impart knowledge to them in an unforced way. Thanks for a great post!

Nikki said...

Linnie, isn't it funny how we can encourage others to be relaxed home schoolers but we need our own revelation of it to truly start to live it! For me, I'm now starting to realise that finding our home school method means finding what is truly best for my children's learning styles and personality and for me the mom (and not just choosing what suits me!)
I realised recently that it's like receiving a new revelation from Christ-someone else can share with you what they have experienced and you can totally get it/ understand it (or not on the other hand), but only when your heart and mind are ready to receive and walk in it do you truly experience the freedom!
I think it's all about God's timing and our readiness! It was lovely to read about your children becoming ready for new learning after the Lord had let their hearts have a season of preparation! :-)
Blessings to you all, Nikki

Linnie said...

Ek sien uit na die dag wat jy wel in ons winkel 'n draai kan kom maak en daarna by my kom kuier!
Dankie vir die inloer.

Linnie said...

You're so right about we, still need to get rid off the 'school' mindset. Our children are in a great advantage! Praise the Lord! Just think what kind of grandchildren we're going to have!
Have a blessed week.

Linnie said...

Hi Grietjie
Glad this helped!
You are on the right track, my Friend!
Enjoy your sweet, little ones!

Linnie said...

That is so true! Without my relationship/partnership with God, there is no way I can lead my children in their learning lifestyle! He knows the plans for our children and may we as Mothers stay open-minded to hear His voice to make the right choices.
Thank you for taking the time to comment!
Have a blessed week!

Trudie said...

Oh Linnie, I love your posts! You always hit the nail on the head and I leave your blog feeling refreshed, revived and inspired. I was just thinking this morning about what a friend of mine said the other day, I just cannot get it out of my head: she is going to start looking for work as she cannot 'handle' her one year old anymore. She is 'just to busy' and she would rather go back to work than spend time with her little girl. My heart broke in a million little pieces just then and there. I think she could see the shock on my face as she changed the subject quickly. I believe that God gave me a beautiful little girl to raise myself. I am in the position where it isn't necessary for me to work, so why should I leave my child somewhere else. I love spending time with her, learning and playing with her. This journey we are on is a two way street, every day I learn just as much as she does. I love it and won't trade it for anything in the world. Thank you for your inspiration and your testimony. May God bless you and keep you!! I also live in Durbanville and I should really pop in one day and say hi!

Linnie said...

Hi Trudie
Welcome on my blog and thank you for taking the time to comment. You are so right, in calling this journey, a two way street. God is using my children to teach me, more and more, everyday! What a privilege!
Have a blessed week!

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