Homeschooling (was: Thomas Hardy)

Irina Rempt ira at
Mon Jan 10 16:49:21 EST 2000

On Sun, 9 Jan 2000, Fen Eatough wrote:

> Irina -- one thing you might want to try if you have the time is what my mom
> did... she taught me at home after school, essentially supplementing my
> education with what she thought I should be learning.  We spent an afternoon
> or two a week at the local library and if I had questions about stuff she'd
> take me on "field trips" (including a trip to chat with the dentist when I
> had some questions about teeth that she couldn't answer).

Time, what is that? Oh yes, that thing that fills up as soon as it
flows in...

I teach them as much as I can that they don't learn in school (and so
does Boudewijn) but I can't very well sit down with them and have a
kind of class-after-class - they get quite enough of that in school :-)

Also, most afternoons after school are taken up with various things
that I have to take them to because they're too young to go by
themselves, and everybody has to come along, but it's a good
opportunity to go to the library with the twins when the eldest has
choir practice, and with the eldest when the twins have dance class.

We do have field trips (they call it "expeditions"), for instance to
the small local airport to get *really* close to a plane, or all the
way to the other end of the country (admittedly a small one, it was
about 3 hours by train either way) to look at a gate-house built of
plastic water bottles that we saw a picture of in the paper ("Does
that really exist? Can we go and see it?"), that kind of thing.

Our last successful trip was in the Christmas holidays, when we went
to Utrecht (about an hour away) to see an animated Noah's Ark exhibit
made by a children's book author (Dick Bruna of "Miffy" fame, may
ring a bell). Then we went to another museum where there's a twenty
meter long Viking ship, beautifully preserved, though the youngest
remarked "It's full of holes! How did it ever float?" and her sister
said "Well, it sank, didn't it?". Utrecht is a town criss-crossed by
canals, and we were all so boat-minded by then that we looked
carefully at every canal boat to see if it was made the same way as
the Viking ship (wooden beams with long planks; still the usual way
to build a rowboat) or differently (an iron tub).

The exciting thing about these expeditions is that they learn a lot
(and so do I, and any other adults present - Boudewijn likes to come
along but he works full-time and usually can't make it) but it
doesn't *feel* "educational" (read "boring"). They like it as much,
or perhaps more, than going to a fun fair. They especially want to
see *real* things *with their own eyes*. I recognize that - I once
travelled to an obscure village in the north of the Netherlands to
see a hemp labyrinth. Alone, and with no other goal than to see it
with my own eyes. It's all very well to have read something, but
being there is different.

We don't have a TV - not really out of principle, and we'll probably
get one when we move house though viewing will be *very* selective -
and whenever the kids happen to see something on TV they demand to
know whether it's "real" or "a story" or "made up". They know the
difference between "real reality", "story reality" and sheer
nonsense. More than some adults I know, I must say :-)


            Varsinen an laynynay, saraz no arlet rastynay.
irina at (myself) - (Valdyas) (home)

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