Learning Life Skills

A couple of posts back I wrote about ‘making time to teach’, in a country where home education is banned.
Despite having to send my kids to school, I am thankful that, in Sweden, so far, certain curriculum areas have not been cut. Physical education takes place at least once a week, if not twice, and outdoor playtime (recess) takes up a big chunk of the school day. Creative activities, such as art and sewing, knitting and woodwork, music and cooking are also taught.

I’m thankful that my children have been able to let off steam in a forest environment ; have outdoor woodwork lessons ; that my oldest son has made a shelf, and my daughter is busy knitting a hat (having just completed sewing a felt egg warmer), that my son has been on several ski-ing trips, and that my daughter has had the chance to sing solo in a musical about ‘children’s rights’.

However, no-one can pretend that this time in school doing these subjects is an adequate time to learn them – or to reach the potential that that child may have. My daughter panics if she is unwell on a friday because that means she’ll get behind on her hat she is knitting ; my son has been marked down in subjects such as sport because “he doesn’t take enough part in discussions” (!), and at the same time has been made to feel he is a (in his words) “bad” pianist because he didn’t want to play a complicated piece in front of the class despite having played piano for four years (he simply doesn’t enjoy performing in front of his peers) ; my youngest son finds his physical education lesson stressful because they have to rush down the road to get the bus on time with the whole class ; all three of my children have not reached the true potential for their english writing due to it being a second language in Sweden – and therefore they all need to ‘sit patiently and twiddle their thumbs’ (so to speak) ; all three of my children felt they knew the basics already for the first few years having learnt them at home, but still had to do them again in school (what else could they have learnt in these first three years had they been home educated?!!), etc, etc. The list goes on.

The teachers have (mostly) all been wonderful, and some schools are better than others in some subjects, and helping children to reach their potential – but in my view, school often, without of course meaning to, ‘holds them back’. 😐

Which brings me to teaching at home again. It’s not only the academics that need boosting at times, but without doubt, the ‘life skills’ too.

My daughter Maya (11) can whip up a cake, a batch of biscuits, pancakes or some fried eggy bread easily. No doubt she could make you a main course too! 👍😉 The boys have been less interested, but even Alfie could make a batch of biscuits from scratch if you asked him, and put the temperature on the oven for him.

From an early age we try to cook with our kids – pancakes, scrambled egg, bread, pasta salads, biscuits and cakes, to name a few. And every week I try to make sure that each child cooks something, or takes part in helping to prepare dinner.

We have a selection of good children’s cookery books, and I usually suggest they choose something to make from them. Recently Leon chose to make chocolate & cream cheese brownies…

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Alfie and I made chocolate chunk cookies together….

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…and Ted helped me to make beltane oatcakes….

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But it’s not just life skills such as cooking that we try to teach the children, but also life skills such as gardening.

Every child of ours, from a very young age, has had the opportunity to plant seeds and watch them grow – sunflowers, cress, tomatoes, etc. They have all experimented, failed and succeeded, in growing various vegetables and fruits. We have encouraged them to have their own vegetable patches, to weed and to rake leaves when needed, and have even taught our oldest to mow the lawn.

And now Maya and Leon have gone one step further. Maya has designed her own wildlife pond and garden area (it’s in the beginning stages..)…

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(Yes, the water looks a little ‘dirty’ – there was a suggestion to lay a little sand in the bottom – I guess it’s still settling?) 😉
Leon has also made his little garden area – what I term a ‘mathematical garden’…

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Also at the beginning stages – he wants to let the grass “grow wild” in the growing box, and is intending to grow plants next to them.

It will be interesting to see how these gardens progress…

So. Life skills. I just must try to encourage more chores around the house….😜😝😳

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‘Fabulous Robots’ : English Club

‘Fabots’ is a word short for ‘fabulous robots’, made up by my oldest son and his friend. It was their wish, therefore, to be able to make ‘fabots’ in english club…
“What do we need?” I asked. Some cylindrical pieces of wood about 5cm in width, small nails, big nails and maybe some wood glue, came the reply – and then I got a little detailed plan…..

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…and so, last week, we started to make ‘fabots’. 😉

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…with a fabulous outcome….

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The kids then told me, while I scribed, the characters of their ‘fabots’, and the jobs the ‘fabots’ were employed to do…

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The kids decided they wanted to make their own board games for these ‘fabots’, so this week we continued with that.
There was an incredible amount of discussion involved – entirely in english – pretty fantastic considering they barely spoke less than a year ago. And using words such as ‘strategies’ and ‘combat’ too!

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Eventually the boys started on their game board…

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…though the girls seem to be right on track with theirs….

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Oh! And my Leon added a few more ‘fabots’ to the equation….😊

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To be continued next week! Great stuff guys! 😆

Pumpkin Time!

Just because it’s always so much fun to do, because they always look so wonderful when lit – and because it’s given me an opportunity to play with lots of different photography ‘affects’, I’ll give you an insight into our pumpkin carving session….. 😉

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In true Maya style, she was still hard at work with hers hours after the rest of us had finished (doing the ghost above)…. And I just couldn’t help myself taking some photos of some cheeky sibling fun taking place…

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…before giving all the pumpkins a ‘test run’….

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🙂

Outdoor Survival Mission

Leon decided it was important to take only five items for the overnight camp – after much discussion it was decided that the five items be :
Sleeping bag
Tent
Camping Stove
Soup
Matches
I pointed out that water was missing – but Leon pointed out that they could get water from the outside tap.

Essentially the idea was to accomplish outdoor survival for 12 hours….

They set up the tent..

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..and so the evening began…

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…with communal cooking of the soup..

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…picking and collecting of the salad…

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…and eating, of course…

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Well, Alfie didn’t quite make it through the night, but of course Leon and Maya did – though early morning didn’t really go as planned… Maya woke at 4.30am, and couldn’t go back to sleep due to hunger….
Lessons learned ;
1) Don’t skimp on food
2) Don’t put the tent up next to the road
“Probably easier to do it alone next time”, said Leon ‘Grylls’ … 😉

The Photography Course

Leon has had an interest in photography – particularly nature photography – for a while now. I decided to take him on a 4 hour nature photography ‘course’ in our local national park, Tyresta.

The course was actually for adults, but it was basic, and Leon really enjoyed it, and said he learned a lot.

So here are some photos that I took – as memories for this blog – but hopefully I could put some of Leon’s up in a later post…

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As you can see, I had fun too – but if I’m honest, I like the photos of Leon taking photos best! 😉