It’s not school, but…

10 Nov

Yesterday morning was a bit fraught.  We were awake at 4.30am and it was very difficult to keep the children quiet until 8.30, as the rules of our condo require.  The other residents are mostly ‘snow birds’, retirees from other parts of the States escaping winter, who like their lie ins.  As a result we both gained a warning from the manager and forgot to do any school work.

Before we left, we’d resolved to do a little school work every day.  Feeling guilty while we were bobbing about in the five hundred year old fishing pool on the beach, I gave Eve a quick times tables test and did some phonics actions with the boys, resolving to do a bit later when we got back to the condo.  But we didn’t get back to the condo until tea time and by then we were all tired.

Then I thought about what we did do yesterday.  Both not very much and really quite a lot.  We found a dead eel and a dead pufferfish.  They got a good poking.  We found five different kinds of seed that we’d never seen before.  Some of them were really good at floating in the river that Dickon made using the outdoor shower.

The tiny whale museum just over the road from our condo is lovely.  We marvelled at huge whale bones, looked at sand under a microscope, played with stingray and hermit crab hand puppets, singing the ‘Stingray’ theme tune obviously, did umpteen fish jigsaws and an ecology worksheet.

We wrote our names in the sand, learnt that the Hawaiian for snack is ‘poo poo’, watched crabs scramble over the black rocks, were surrounded by a shoal of tiny silvery fish and discussed the merits of coconut collecting as a career choice.

Without even noticing, Ned swam entirely by himself without armbands for the first time.  He donned his mask and snorkel, and spent hours floating around in the shallow water.  He was in his swimming things before breakfast today.  This is the boy who used to be terrified of swimming.

After tea, Eve read the book we bought her in Disneyland, a novelisation of their new film ‘Tangled’, while the we read the boys a children’s book we found here about Barak Obama.  He used to work in Baskin and Robbins in Waikiki.

I can’t help wondering what would happen if we jettisoned the school books entirely.  Would they return to school and be absolutely fine?  My sneaking suspicion is that they would.


For any grandparents and teachers reading this, please don’t worry, we’re not going to jettison the school work entirely.  I promise!


16 Responses to “It’s not school, but…”

  1. christinemosler 10/11/2010 at 6:40 pm #

    Yes, they would and you should. They will learn more with you than….oh, but you know that already, you don’t need me to tell you! It sounds wonderful, you sound wonderful, they sound wonderful! xxx

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 11/11/2010 at 6:23 pm #

      Why thank you, as are you x

  2. GBK Gwyneth 10/11/2010 at 6:43 pm #

    That sounds like a great day! Your kids are learning so much from your travels; I would think that getting out and seeing the world is much more important than staying in with books at this moment. They’ll not only be just fine when they get back to school, they will also have wonderful contexts in which to place what they are learning about in school….

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 11/11/2010 at 6:23 pm #

      Next year, the 6yo’s curriculum includes the rainforest…

  3. Paula 10/11/2010 at 8:06 pm #

    How many times today have you heard the phrase “Mummy, I’d like a poo poo please?” Hawaii sounds like the perfect place to learn all the things that they could never learn in school – you’re absolutely right, I’d take it any day…. xx

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 11/11/2010 at 6:22 pm #

      Lots of times, turns out learning languages is fun. Shame all Hawaiian words aren’t scatalogical.

  4. Tasha (Coding Mamma) 10/11/2010 at 10:49 pm #

    Throw out the books*! Go on! They are going to learn a million times more in this year than they would at home and you can get the reading and times tables into it in other ways.

    *The school books, obviously – not every single book!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 11/11/2010 at 6:19 pm #

      That’s what I’d like to do, I’m going to try and spend as little time doing ‘proper’ work as possible.

  5. gettingredy 11/11/2010 at 9:01 am #

    rubbish!! If you don’t do proper school work they might compeltely forget how to stand in line, copy words they don’t understand, jump to command when bells ring, repeat work they alrady know, and socialise with children exactly their own age and stage.


    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 11/11/2010 at 6:17 pm #

      Spending all day every day on the beach (barring flying days) is tough…

  6. Rachel 11/11/2010 at 10:45 am #

    Seriously I keep telling you….We did not so much UNschooling as NOschooling as life fell into exactly the same pattern you discovered today. When they got back they had still learned stuff, just different stuff. No Romans, but Khmer Rouge, no netball, but lots of snorkelling, real geography right in front of them – glaciers, volcanoes, hot springs. My belief that you could knock over the primary curriclulum in about 5 days a month was up held by Fin’s yr 2 teacher, who told me as we left: ‘as far as specific SATs learning goes you can pretty much miss out Yr 3,4 & 5 as long as you do Yr6’!!! Two tiny maths books were all she prescribed to keep up with principles…

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 11/11/2010 at 6:14 pm #

      We’re really not doing very much at all. Half an hour of maths or literacy a day, tops. Certainly not doing the Tudors! Our school was also very much of the view that as long as they didn’t fall behind in maths, they’d be fine. We’re more worried that we as parents will get lazy and before we know it, month will have gone by without doing any maths at all…

  7. TheMadHouse 11/11/2010 at 8:45 pm #

    I wouldn’t even bother with the schooling, as the above have all said, trust Chris she is a wise women. Just enjoy it, it is the experience of a lifetime and they will learn so much more.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 13/11/2010 at 5:14 am #

      They already are, after only a week and a half 🙂

  8. Tracey - JustAnotherMommyBlog 12/11/2010 at 2:24 pm #

    As long as you’re reading to them and they’re reading about what they’re doing, they won’t lose their fluency. And math is just repetition so we find time to fit it into our lives over here. Your kids will learn SO MUCH this year, especially that their parents love them and that life is supposed to be FUN.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 13/11/2010 at 4:46 am #

      We did maths on the beach today, with seed pods, and the children loved it. Much easier than sitting down to a worksheet.

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