Songbirds ... a family blogs!

Songbirds ... a family blogs!

Donnerstag, 10. Juli 2008

Open learning

My children are learning in freedom.
Everyone probably remembers my old blog being about homeschooling. As our era of homeschooling is coming to an end (due to German law), I will write generally about open learning.
Lisa is inrolled in a school where she will be able to continue the way of education we have pursued so far. There are not many of these schools in Germany, and they cost a monthly fee.
But the way they work is great!
They don't grade or give marks, everything is voluntarily, the children can move about wherever and whenever. The rooms are equipped by 'subjects'. For example there is a playroom (one of the biggest rooms) with Lego, bricks, games, Montessori material, toys, etc. A creative room, a music room, a geography/biology room, a reading room, a language room, a mathematics room, etc.
The outside is on one side a courtyard where the kids can ride their bikes or play football or basketball, etc. - on the other side there is a big garden with sandpit, climbingthings, a hut, and so on.
The wonderful thing is, that nobody is teaching, there are no classes and no grades.
The kids can follow their interests and desires, and they are left to do 'their thing'. The teachers are there to keep an eye, help, support and give answers to questions.

I was very surprised by the calm and peacefull atmosphere in this school. The house feels more like a home, and the teachers have no authoritative air about them. The kids have rather friendly relationships to them. And the kids themselves didn't show aggression or hyper-activity, they were not as loud as in regular schools and all in all seemed very relaxed.

Lisa spent one whole school-day on her own there recently and she loved it. She didn't want to go home when I came to collect her. :-)
That's usually a very good sign.

The other positive side is that I will be almost as much involved in Lisas development as I am now: I am able to help in the school and be around, I will be able to continue our learning philosophy and the teacher's see me as a partner (in supporting the kids' learning) rather than just 'the parent'.
And I DON'T have to supervise any boring homework, because there aren't any.

So, returning to our open learning - this is what's going on right now:

- making up picture stories
- inventing stories on PC and designing pictures (on Mylittlepony)
- lots of free imaginative play
- exchanging letters and pictures with a neighbour girl
- learning about different animals
- learning a bit about historical things (how did humans live in different times, what did they wear, what did they do, what was already invented, ...)
- inventing songs and recording them on PC
- experimenting with video and photo camera
- exploring nature
- learning how to care for puppy dogs (my moms got two)
- learning all car types and their signs

- picking up some English
- watching English videos
- lots of imaginative role play
- trying out different instruments (bongos, whistle, guitar, violin)
- drawing occasionally
- working out quantitie and comparing them (these are three cars, these are three fingers, this is the number three, etc.)
- exploring nature
- lots of physical action :-) (including pretend-fights on the bed with me *g*)

- copying her brother and sister
- learning to speak (German and English)
- helping cooking
- helping generally
- trying out the tricicle

- learning classical guitar
- practicing new songs
- writing songs
- working on two stories
- learning how to economise expenses
- studying some history (local, Kelts and Germanic peoples)

...some of the things we are doing right now.
Besides that I am busy planning our move and preparing mentally for a big change in my (our) life! :-)