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’.
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."