Making Time To Teach

Our seven year old is way ahead in school, but the current law in Sweden forbids homeschooling, and as he is December born, being the youngest child in the year group, I’m not intending to ask for him to be moved up a grade (which would make him two years younger than some of his peers).

The school day starts at 8.15, and finishes at 2pm, after which there is after school club, ‘fritids’, which pretty much every child goes to.
Alfie is an extremely social person – being with friends is one of the best things he knows – and although he likes school a lot, he LOVES ‘fritids’. He loves the teachers, he loves playing with his friends, and most of all, he loves being outside in the forest school ‘yard’ searching for bugs, climbing the rocks, building dens, role playing, and swinging on the swing. And of course, like any mother, I love the fact that my child is outside in the fresh air using up (at least some) of his energy! 😊

So I pick him at 3pm, and by the time I’ve found him (he’s often found up the hill at the back of the forest area busy with friends building something), collected his things, marked him off with a teacher, and walked home, it’s around 3.30pm.

Being such a social child, Alfie will often love to have a friend home to play, and if he doesn’t have a friend, there’s a great likelihood that Leon or Maya will (Ted hasn’t got to that stage yet). So with four kids of my own (including our very ‘busy’ and ‘curious’ four year old), often at least one or two extra kids, dinner to make, and usually the preparation of some evening activity, such as scouts, or english club, riding or theatre group, it’s a very very busy time, and next to impossible to have any one-to-one quiet time with any child. 😜

So that’s brings up to around 6pm, when we’re winding down, cleaning up the dishes, doing homework, driving/fetching to and from activities, having baths, and generally getting ready for the small people’s bedtimes….

So when do I give Alfie time for one-to-one quiet time? Time for a little ‘extra’? For someone whose brain craves so much! 😆

At around 6.45pm, when he’s in his pyjamas (and either one of us doesn’t have a ‘previous engagement’) we sneak in to my bedroom, with a small bowl of fruit, a glass of milk, a toothbrush, a book or two, and all the things we might need for a short but sweet ‘lesson’. This always includes a chapter book we are reading, but it might also include a factual book about a present topic, a fictional book he is reading to me in english, or a sticker book or puzzle book about an educational topic. And then, for a good hour, we get on with it! And he just loves it – both the learning, and the time with me.. 😄

During the week, at some point, I will squeeze in a ‘back up’ to these ‘lessons’ – an outing, a puzzle or a craft, a nature activity, experiment or film. But the basis of this learning takes place in the evening – a time enjoyed by us both.

Recently we’ve been learning about telling the time through a sticker/puzzle book…

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…which he thought was great fun!
We backed this up with a game of ‘telling the time lotto’, and of course, me asking him what time it was on the kitchen clock a few times a day.

So now he can tell the time by every hour, every half hour, quarter past and quarter to – and understands that every number accounts for five minutes, and every little line accounts for one minute. 👍😊

Interesting though, that when we had our school ‘report evening’ with the teacher last week, the children had been asked to fill in a number of pieces of knowledge according to how well they understood them – red for not at all, yellow for quite well, and blue for really well. There were about twenty of these to fill in, all written in ‘teachers vocabulary’ – and the seven/eight year olds had been asked to do this by themselves. Alfie had filled ‘telling the time’ in yellow ‘quite well’ – and the teacher proceeded to tell me that it didn’t matter if he could “only understand time quite well” because “they didn’t need to know this until grade 3” (he is now in grade 1). When I pointed out that he actually knew this very well, it was ‘swept under the carpet’ and again pointed out that he didn’t need to know this. It made me realise that ; a) the teacher wasn’t really that aware of what he did/didn’t know ; b) that seven year olds were expected to, on grownup terms, decide how well they could understand a subject, and ; c) that the children were not encouraged to extend their own learning.

So there you go. Observation of the day! 😛

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2 thoughts on “Making Time To Teach

  1. What a beautiful life you are giving your children! It is hard to fit in that learning time, and yet you do. It must be so frustrating to have to send them to school knowing that it is not adequate. You always impress me.

    • Thank you Phyllis – what a wonderful comment – I appreciate it. 🙂 Yes, believe me, it is so very very frustrating – but I still hope that one day… 🙂 xxx

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