It’s the perennial question – are they really learning? This can be particularly acute when your kids seem to spend all day playing computer games (or horror – watching other people on YouTube play games).
This is our reality at the moment. Of course, I have been knocked around with a lovely infection, so there has been a tad less guidance than usual ( and thank goodness for antibiotics!)
But despite this, there are a number of things that we have done to actually aide, encourage and help our kids learn the things we think they need to learn while immersed in their ‘everything is a game‘ world.
It can be hard to figure out how to fit all the bits and bobs into a small apartment when the house is full of makers. We do lots of drawing, and crafting, painting, sewing, woodwork, game creation and science experiments in our homeschool. And before we know it, it can quickly descend into chaos – it’s beads everywhere, with the pencils and the card games scattered and the floor can regularly disappear. . . but I have learned a few tips and tricks to keep things roughly in order. Continue reading “Setting Up DIY Spaces for Homeschooling”
Adapting our homeschooling environment to support our kids needs has been a work in progress that has taken years of trial and error. I personally love the idea of self-directed learning and unschooling, but I have had to adapt it to fit the needs of my children.
As much as I would love to be able to say ‘you can do whatever you want’ and let it happen (with me strewing and facilitating, but having the kids in charge), it hasn’t happened. Instead, we have taken a lot of slow, small steps in that direction, and have had to treat it as more of an end goal than a blueprint.
Over time, (and with an understanding of their neurological differences) I have come to understand why my children need support and why those supports need to be different for each child.
When planning out a homeschool plan, it can be easy to think of creating and making things as nice extra, but creative play is also essential for brain development, as it helps foster problem solving ability as well as a whole host of other great things, like out of the box thinking, adaptability, and flexibility, as well as enhancing the ability to retain ideas. Which for our family, means it is bumped up pretty high on the ‘must-do’ list.
Due to the imaginational OEs often associated with gifted/2e kids, some kids ooze creativity and imagination and everything becomes an elaborate story or creation. Anything in their reach becomes part of their imaginative world. Other kids (particularly those with some types of special needs, like ASD), might also exhibit large amounts of imagination and creativity, but it will come out in more unusual ways that might be easy to dismiss or miss. Having lots of different ways for kids to express their ideas, with materials ready to hand for practical creations can really help with spontaneous creative play.
But an adult’s idea of creative play doesn’t always match up with the way kids like to create and explore. Which can be a challenge for parents and other adults. But letting go of expectations of finished products or following the instructions can have huge benefits for everyone! Creativity can come in many forms and for my family, fostering my kids ideas has been far more useful than trying to bend their ideas to fit preconceived ideas about creative play.
We’re a geeky kind of family. With me being a mathematician and my DH an engineer, it would be hard to not be geeky. We’re also not going to score high on the ‘doing things conventionally’ test, if one of those existed. But sometimes, just sometimes, the paths my kids take to learn are so unconventional that they leave me with a feeling of stunned awe (and a little bit of ‘where in the sweet unicorns on a pegasus did that come from‘?).
Being the kind of family that we are, we were never going to let our kids going to coast through on understanding how computers work. And being the kind of homeschool mum that I am, I had grand plans of my kids learning how to program, helping them navigate through learning the basics of making computers ‘do things’ – I had plans.
And then the kids got sick. And then they got sick again, and again . . . and just when I thought we’d have a week free of illness, another nasty virus took up residence. So instead of doing all the fabulous strewing I was planning, I ended up with two very sick little children who spent the next few weeks in and out of bed (and yes, it’s still ongoing, sigh). Now we have one very important rule in our house – sick children get to rest. And with kids whose minds won’t stop, both embarked on a long, bandwidth hogging binge on streaming videos. Continue reading “Unconventional Learning;”
It’s very easy to fall into the habit of only thinking about the negatives. I do it. In fact, it runs in my family – anxiety is a fact of life for more than one generation. But today, I want to talk about the positives. It’s easy to talk about the positives and negatives of my family’s special needs, and it is also easy to talk about the negatives of giftedness. It’s even marginally socially acceptable. But today I’m breaking the mould. I am going to talk about the positives of being a gifted family. Because without talking about those ‘oh wow!‘ moments, it’s hard to understand why being gifted is so different from the norm. Today I’m being brave. So here we go. Continue reading “Playing to the Positives”
Computers! It’s the passion of the week here at the moment. As almost all kids sporting or other ‘extra-curricula’ activities pause over the holidays, it has allowed my son to focus on his passion-of-the-week. Which is programming. Continue reading “Programming Revisited”
It’s been a week since we returned from our holiday (which I plan to write about soon), and we’ve come down with the Something-My-Child-Caught-While-Exploring-Germ-Covered-Surfaces bug. As a result, we’ve not exactly gone swinging back into our usual routine, but kind of limped close enough to wave dispiritedly in its direction. Continue reading “What We Do When We’re Not Doing Anything”
It was a number of years before children that I was first introduced to Fluxx**. A good friend brought the game out at a party (the kind of party where everyone ends up watching old Dr Who episodes until the early hours). I remember it being a blast, but didn’t really think about it again for many years.
Then my son fell in love with board and card games, and my DH remembered ‘this old game that was kind of cool’. We now have 4 different versions of the game and they get played regularly. It has become an essential part of our homeschool.