zondag 16 januari 2011


We were invited to join the presentation of 'Boekstart' (book start), an initiative to encourage reading with very young children, in the local library. From 2011 every newborn receives a little suitcase with a baby booklet and information about reading aloud.  And since we love reading, we happily attended the presentation, received one of the first two suitcases ánd some extra presents!

And because home educating sometimes means multitasking, we read and feed at the same time ;-)

Double quality time!


With our co-op we practised and performed the musical 'Dat moet iets wonderlijks zijn' ('That has to be something miraculous!') by Jan and Gerry Visser. We had so much fun and it was so great to watch the kids perform!

But a performing a musical doesn't only need practise, but also a lot of preparation.

And then it became showtime...

Railway museum

We visited the railway museum in Utrecht. In December the museum is transformed into 'Winter Station'. It was so atmospheric, all those christmas decorations and lights! And there was a real ice rink. So our children iceskated for the first time in their lives! That meant fun, of course.  And practise. Nice to meet two other home educating families there as well!

Oh, and of course they had trains. But that's not what they find interesting at the moment :-) But because we have free entrance with our museum cards  (I can't recommend it too often!) that didn't matter at all.

maandag 3 januari 2011

Homeschooling approaches

Although every 'homeschool' is unique, several 'standard' styles of home education can be distinguished. Below I will mention some, to give an idea of the many opportunities there are.

  • School-at-home: most often portrayed in the media, because it is so easy to understand. Families who follow this approach often buy a boxed curriculum with text books, study schedules, grades and record keeping.

  • Unit studies: using a child's interest in different subject areas like math, reading, spelling, science, art, and history. For example, if your child likes dinosaurs, you would learn history about the dinosaurs' period, you learn geography about where they lived,  you read books about fossils, you write stories about ancient times, etc.  This home education method recognizes the fact that people learn best when they are interested in a certain topic.

  • Relaxed or Eclectic Homeschooling: Eclectic means, chosing the best, and that is what most homeschoolers do. They use a little of this and a little of that, using certain workbooks for math, reading and writing, and taking an unschooling approach for other subjects.

  • Unschooling: Also known as natural, interest-led or child-led learning. Unschoolers learn from everyday lif experiences and don't use formal lessons or school schedules. Founder of the unschooling movement is schoolteacher John Holt. According to him there is no difference between living and learning.

  • Classical homeschooling: This method began in the Middle Ages and was used by some of the greatest minds in history and its goal is to teach people how to learn for themselves. The five tools or learning, also known as the Trivium, are reason, record, research, relate and rhetoric.

  • Charlotte Mason: Core belief of this method is that children deserve to be respected and that they learn best from real-life situations. Children should be given time to play, create, and be involved in real-life. Students of the Charlotte Mason method take nature walks, visit art museums, and learn geography, history, and literature from "living books," books that make these subjects come alive. 

So what do we do?

I think we can be called eclectic/relaxed homeschoolers. We use whatever we find appropriate. The ideas of natural learning speak to us, as well as Charlotte Mason's concepts. These approaches exhibit a lot of freedom. We don't use any formal workbooks yet, because our children are still young and don't need them. Maybe later we will.



RELAXED seems a good word to me
 with a little help from www.homeschool.com


Naturalis, national museum of natural history, is so much worth a visit! Finally we could go, and we all enjoyed it.

Of course we enjoyed the skeletons of several dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals and fossils. After all, that's what we came for. But there was so much more to see. It's such a pity that we lost our pictures, but if you close your eyes, you can imagine what we saw.

- many animals, plants and fungi in Nature Theatre (permanent exhibition)

- serving dinner in the Animalrestaurant, learning about stones,  discovering many natural processes in an oak tree in Earth Inside

- watching a whale movie in the cinema

- Research in Progress taught us more about chickens, very interesting!

- temporary exhibitions. Fatten Up and Go is about bird migration and shows many different birds and their routes. And Whales is about water mammals.  The exhibition shows how whales and dolphins communicate, what they eat, the way their senses work under water and how they raise their calves.

More info on their website, but you'd better go and see live! If you don't have the opportunity, the website will do, also the kids corner, which offers movies, games, information, colourings, e-cards, animal sounds, etc. etc. etc...

Images taken from the Naturalis website.

triplicate wealth

Dinosaur fun continued

The week after Jona's birth we got help from a wonderful nurse. Boas' love for dinosaurs didn't remain unnoticed and she promised to buy him a dinosaur puzzle is she could find one.

And she did!

Boas' interest in dinosaurs isn't over yet. On the contrary, it's highly developing. He learns more and more names and other features. He daily plays with his plastic dinosaurs, draws dinosaurs and colours dinosaur colourings.  I recently bought him this marvelous book, a must-have for the christian dinosaur lover:

It's brimming with nice colourings, crafts and games ánd consists lots and lots of (creationistic) information about dinosaurs. Brilliant!

We also have:

Not indispensable, but just a nice creationistic picture book.

Bird charity

Our lovely garden habits many birds. Especially in winter, because the charity level at # 38 is high.

Another nice way of practising motoric skills while learning about a different subject, like birds in winter. In Naturalis we learnt more about migratory birds. About our definitely-worth-the-trip to Naturalis, you can read here.