15 February 2008


Origionally I wasn't going to homeschool at all, as surprising as that seems to me right now. I thought I would happily send my child off to school, and that they would benifit from all that 'socialisation'. I guess, even though I was homeschooled myself, I just didn't really think about it. So from the day DD was born, even before really, we began looking around for a good school. Unfortunately, we came up emptyhanded. All of the private schools were either religious, or single sex. I felt that religion is a personal matter, to be taught at home in the family rather than taking up valuable time in a school day (and being a teacher, I'm well aware that there is so little time for actual teaching in a school day as it is!) I also felt that if I were going to send my child to school for socialisation, it seemed silly to limit that socialisation to the same sex. In desperation we began looking at alternative schools. I read up on Steiner, but wasn't impressed that they don't teach reading to a child until they are 7. We have an independent school here in Brisbane that sounded great, but when we went along to an open day, we found out that they only had ONE computer in the lower school (grades 1-3), and it didn't have internet, apparently because the parents prefered it this way. Not for us at all, and anyway, it was too far for us to travel.

I did, and still do, like the Montessori philosophy, but at the time, it was too far to travel. (Ironically, we now live 5 minutes away!) The more we looked at it, the more it began to seem that homeschooling was the only option. DD is bright. She can already count to 200, and has basic concepts of addition and multiplication. At just under 3 years, we were driving along, and she came out with "two threes are six." And a few days later, "ten tens are one hundred". She is fascinated with space and the planets, and already has a clear understanding of orbits and can tell you the planets in order from the sun. She used to describe things as being "As big as Jupiter", or "as small as Pluto." Sadly, I think she would be bored in a normal school. I was, and I wasn't half this clever! I remember always being in trouble in circle reading because I never knew where we were up to when it was my turn. I was 2 chapters ahead. And I was in the highest reading group we had in our class.

It took us quite a while to come to the decision, DH longer than I, but we now both feel that it is the best option for our child. I'm a teacher by training (I have a degree anyway, I haven't actually done much teaching), and we plan on using the School of Distance Education curriculum, so really, it should be fairly easy. DD isn't due to start formal schooling for another year. Her prep year would start in 2009, and while ilt isn't compulsory here in Queensland, we will probably enrol her anyway.

With this in mind, I try to do some educational activities with her. Some days this is as simple as painting or playing with play doh. Sometimes we do worksheets together. My mum, also a teacher, and of course a homeschooling mum, has started a website, Prodigy Pie selling her worksheets, and DD loves them. When she sees the webpage, she asks "Can I do some worksheets?" She especially loves any that are cut and paste.

Today though, we ended up doing some art and craft. I bought some paper plates last time I was at the shops, and we made Elephant masks. Basically, mark the places for the eyes, and cut them out, then paint in an appropriate colour. I drew a trunk, and some ears on a seperate piece of paper and cut them out, and we painted those too. When they were dry, we stuck them together, and viola!

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