When I first started looking into homeschooling, my son was still 2. I didn't really know much about teaching methods or different approaches. Someone had directed me to this video and I remember it had really opened my eyes to how things work and how each homeschooling is really a different journey for each family and that it does not have to look like school. There are 5 main styles of homeschooling and I was actually thinking about writing an article about it however I feel this video will explain them very well and I don't have anything to add to it
What is Homeschooling?
Homeschooling is an educational option that allows parents to teach their children at home instead of sending them to school. Parents take charge of organizing subjects, teaching lessons or arranging for tutors, evaluating progress, and supervising social contacts. Homeschool parents believe that one-on-one attention and individualized study produce the best education possible. Parents are also able to adapt their lessons to their child’s learning methods, speed and interests and encourage a love of learning in the children that is so often ignored in schools.Today one can find a wealth of resources and opportunities available to homeschooling families. Some families choose a ready-made curriculum to follow to the dot, others may choose an online curriculum and others may choose to build their own curriculum themselves.
Why do families choose to Homeschool?
Parents choose homeschooling for a wide variety of reasons. Some parents have concerns about the social environment or academic quality of local public schools. Some want to ensure that their children are educated in accordance with their religious beliefs. Some believe their children will learn better through child-directed learning outside of a classroom setting. Some have children who were bullied in school or have health problems or demanding practice schedules. A growing number of families enjoy the flexibility homeschooling offers, and many children may find that homeschooling is a good fit for their natural learning styles or personalities.Research has shown that children who are homeschooled can succeed academically, especially when given support and resources from their parents. Many homeschool parents are driven and motivated, and are extremely involved in their children’s education. They educate themselves as they go along and seek out resources, tutors, or classes for those subjects they may not be able to teach themselves. In many ways these parents are more facilitators or coordinators than teachers.
What about Socialization?
Families who choose to Homeschool will have to prepare themselves to hear this question possibly daily!! It is annoying I know from experience but I have learnt to ignore it, while I am firm in our family’s decision, some people understand but others are not worth the fight! Here are a few reason why your children won’t grow up to be weirdos. Homeschooled children are typically involved in an array of social activities, including homeschool cooperatives, dance and music lessons, church and Sunday school, field trip groups, and other classes, clubs, and groups outside of the home. They also have a greater connection with nature and with the community. “Socialization is actually meant to prepare children for the real world, which means learning to interact and deal with people of all ages, races, and backgrounds,” says Diane Flynn Keith. “In this case, homeschooling actually does a better job of this because homeschoolers spend more actual time out in society.” Research supports this. According to Home Schooling and the Question of Socialization by Richard G. Medlin, “Home-schooled children are taking part in the daily routines of their communities. They are certainly not isolated; in fact, they associate with–and feel close to–all sorts of people.”
May Day is a traditional spring festival in many cultures. Although summer does not officially begin until June, May Day really marks its beginning. May Day celebrations have their origins in the Roman Festival of Flora, celebrated with dancing, singing and colourful decorations.
A traditional May Day dance is known as the Maypole dancing. On May Day people used to cut down young trees and stick them in the ground in the village to mark the arrival of summer. The poles were then decorated with flowers and coloured ribbons. We attached our ribbons to a rope around a pine tree instead of cutting one down.
We started by gathering wood for the fire. The children eagerly helped and they also wanted to take turns in cutting the larger branches with a saw.
Then each of us, adults and children, formed a circle around the tree, took ribbons in our hands and danced and sang around it. We made a fabulous tangle of colours! The children had so much fun with the paper ribbons they kept playing with them after the dance, attaching them to sticks and running around.
In the end we gathered around the fire and enjoyed a picnic under the trees.
In some traditions Candlemas celebrates the beginning of the lengthening of days and also the beginning of spring. We certainly have not had a winter this year as temperature kept fairly warm through January and the lack of rainfall has been on everyone’s mind, especially the local farmers. In Maltese tradition, February 2nd is called il-Gandlora. Farmers predict whether we would have more rain or not. If it does not rain on this day, warm weather is to be expected from now on.
Candles are usually prepared around this time to last through the whole year. We got ourselves busy looking for good quality beeswax and made a thorough search on candle making.
For the celebration we met in the woods. The kids helped to gather the wood for the fire. There was a serene atmosphere as soon as everyone arrived and children played in such free spirit.
When all was set, we melted some beeswax to make candles in the earth. Much care was taken for the children’s safety. Some were intrigued to watch what we adults were doing while the others managed to find some wild asparagus thorns and burn them in the fire to make firework sounds. Pine cones and herbs were thrown in the fire and Palo Santo wood was burned by each family to create an uplifting scent in the air. While the candles were cooling off in the soil we gathered round the fire and prayed for the year ahead, for new beginnings and opportunities and for that much needed rain.
The winter spiral or advent spiral as it is sometimes called, is a celebration of quiet confidence, of carrying light in darkness and of sharing that light with others. Evergreen boughs are laid on the floor or ground to create a spiral. In the centre of the spiral is a lit candle and each child takes their turn to walk the spiral holding an unlit candle. As they reach the centre, they light the candle from the centre candle and then walks back out of the spiral. The child brings forth the Light as he/she walks outward and chooses a place along the spiral to set the lit candle.
San Martin chapel was chosen for this event and it took place at the opening of the cave, behind the chapel. We played some music to enhance the reverent atmosphere and the children helped in gathering the evergreen boughs and placing them on the ground.
Majjistral Park covers an area of 6 km in the Northwest coastal part of Malta and is part of the Natura 2000 network of conservation sites. The outing was organised between Majjistral Park and Bird Life Malta volunteers.
We were invited into the visitor’s centre for a brief explanation of the activities. The children were given an application for the Bird life Magazine yearly subscription and the current issue for free, plus a colouring book of some of Malta’s flora and fauna. We took a short walk and looked for treasures from nature such as fallen leaves, twigs, empty snail shells, nice rocks and seeds, which the children were going to use for the next activity. While walking some of the children noticed two old carob trees that were so close to each other that their branches seemed to form a canopy. The Park guide pointed out that one of the trees was male, as it had flowering buds, while the other had seed pods and was a female. The children enjoyed picking the seed pods that had fallen from the tree as well as the red, brown and golden leaves. They also noticed birds and butterflies flying around, and other different plants that grow in the area, some of which, as explained by the Park guide, store water for the long warm months.
We walked up to the cliffs and took a short break for a snack near the garigue. While eating we noticed some creatures bustling about around us. The children noticed some ants marching in a row and they followed them to see where they were heading.
The Bird life volunteer, then, asked the children to create a picture with the treasures they had collected on the walk. They got quite creative!
Finally they played a guessing game were the blindfolded child had to guess what the other children put in his/her hands by feeling the texture and weight of the object.
The Bird life volunteer also explained to the children that the Yelkouan Shearwater (garnija in Maltese) is a seabird that inhabits the park in colonies and is protected by law. The children were each given a picture of the Shearwater to colour at home.
The Park guide and Bird life volunteers were very organised and were fantastic with the children. The activities they planned were age appropriate and all the children enjoyed interacting. On our walk back we re-visited the centre to take a look at the photographic exhibition of Malta’s flora and fauna and the various nature books they have for sale. We will definitely visit the park again, perhaps we will explore an other area next time!
Martinmas is well known as San Martin and is well remembered for the bags full of fruit and nuts we used to receive. Martinmas however is more about compassion and generosity, reflected in the story of St Martin, who shared his cloak with a beggar. The light of Martinmas, represented by a candle in a lantern, strengthens our spirit for the dark winter.
We decided to do a lantern walk in Buskett valley. Each family made their own lanterns with glass jars, coloured paper and some decorations, and prepared a few short verses to sing along the way.
During this month, each family focused on community service by giving donations to orphanages in light of the spirit of generosity.
Now that the temperatures are cooling down we are back to some Field trip fun! The Girgenti Farm is such a lovely place, situated in a peaceful countryside in the limits of Siggiewi. The kids were eager to go in as soon as we arrived. The farm owner took us around for a tour of the farm, stopping by animals where the kids had the opportunity to feed them from their hands. It was an exciting up-close experience for them. There were pot bellied pigs, chickens, roosters, ducks and rabbits. There were two sheep, one black and one white, who were a new addition to the farm. There was also a friendly donkey who loved cuddles and the kids gathered around to take a turn. Then they fed the horse and the farmer called us to plant some cauliflower sprouts into pots. Each child did his/her own, filling the pot with soil and poking a hole to place the sprout, then adding more soil on top. They each watered the plant and were overjoyed when the farmer told them that they could take it home with them! Finally, we all went to the chicken coop to see the eggs. This was a large fenced area, well shaded with trees and there were different breeds of chickens and roosters, along with ducks, geese and some rabbits. The kids stood in a line and the farmer handed them a cup of corn each, and we had a show of flying corn kernels and chickens stepping on our feet and racing around to catch the kernels. They had so much fun they wanted to throw another round of corn! They were curious to see where the hens laid their eggs and they all gathered round to watch and petting some hens. Definitely a fantastic hands-on experience!
This was an amazing experience for all the children including us adults! We went to Ħal Far Station as it is also the head quarters. The station officer greeted the kids with a cheerful note and patiently explained to them the different types of trucks and why they are used for and the equipment they use in different situations including how to use the water hose! He showed them how to wear the firemen suit and explained how it protects the firemen and the older kids each had a turn to try them on. It was fantastic how interested the kids were as the station officer explained some safety procedures. Then he took the children for a short drive around the perimeter on one of the trucks. They had a blast hearing the siren of course! At the end we also had the opportunity to see a training session.
The Limestone Heritage is situated in the village of Siġġiewi and offers an engaging walk through our local history of stone masonry. There is also a farm animal park which the children enjoyed very much. The outing is more suitable for older kids to complement their study of our local history but the little ones still enjoyed exploring the girna and other features in the outdoor area, and the fossils and different types of stone in the souvenir shop. The peacocks kindly left us some of their feathers to keep as a souvenir!