Reflecting on our Term

My first thought on this term is that is wasn’t everything it could have been.  I had big plans and a stack of resources but with a two-week holiday to Ireland bang in the middle of the ten weeks as well as my operation, it feels like it never really got off the ground.  We always go to Ireland in the autumn and next year I will be more aware of the effect it will inevitably have on whatever we are studying at the time.  On the plus side we have learnt lots and really felt like we understood more about what it really means to be a member of the Ojibwe nation.  Many of the books I bought were written by Native Ojibwe men and woman – living books if you like rather than information books.

My second thoughts are related to hands on activities.  The children are growing up and are needing to be stretched far more.  All three now (finally) enjoy writing and enjoy being given assignments on a daily basis.  They all love researching and finding out the information for themselves.  We have definitely moved into a different stage of their education.  Hands on activities are plentiful in this household, really plentiful.  And for the first time ever, I am feeling the need to weigh their importance up against more academic work.  The children seriously love our history studies.  I can see them in jobs and at uni but coming home in the evenings to do a bit of history!  They particularly enjoy the hands on aspect of it, as do I.  Yet I am wondering whether we do too many.  Time feels precious and is slipping through our fingers at the rate of knots.  I want to use it wisely and meaningfully.  I want to build healthy habits like cooking from scratch, exercising, bible study, quiet time reading and so on.  The list of things we can do are endless.  There are not enough hours in our day and we need to be wise as to what we choose to fill them with.  Hands on activities are fun, relationship building and of course educational but they take time and sometimes that is in short supply.

My final thoughts come to rest on the comments I received about the study, possibly written by someone of Ojibwe or Native American origin, outlining the right and wrong way to address them, correct words to use and words which might offend.  Someone even left a message stating that they found my home-made Native American dress up offensive and that I should be discouraging rather than encouraging this type of play in my children.  It took the edge of pleasure off what had been an incredibly interesting and earnest study.  I attempted, as I do in all our studies, to reveal an accurate as possible portrayal of the culture we were studying.  At no point did I intend offence and yet I obviously offended.  In the end I hesitated posting what we had learnt for fear I had got a turn of phrase wrong.

All in all, I am pleased to be returning to European history, with which I feel comfortable and familiar enough to write about with confidence and without fear of upsetting anyone.  The coming year I will be focusing on choosing hands on activities which also teach a skill.  For example sewing or wood work.  Each activity will have to fight for its place in our home school and will have to justify its existence in terms of the skills it will build in our children.  We all agree that we need to avoid hands on activities just for the sake of doing a hands on activity (if you see what I mean!).  More changes in our little school, but I guess changes will always come as fast and as furious as the growth of the children who require the changes.  Nothing is static in life and the one thing we can be sure of is that changes are always afoot.  All we can do is meet them with excitement and a willingness to go with the flow.

 

24 comments

  1. I really enjoyed reading about your stud and thought you did a good job. I am also feeling the pull to do more writing and research and less hands on. It will be an adjustment as we move forward into the teen years. I hope all went well with your surgery.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. The main thing I see your children learning, whatever they’re doing, is a love of finding things out and ownership of their own education. In a way the content or even the form of the tasks is irrelevant if they’re getting into the habit of discovering new things and making the knowledge their own. Of course if they have particular routes in mind – if one wanted to become an accountant, another a doctor and the third an engineer, for random examples – then some specialised hoop-jumping would be in order but from an outsider’s perspective I’d say you’re doing fine at the moment. You do far more than I could ever picture fitting into a day!

  3. I agree with May. You are doing great. I do think it’s a shame you have received something negative and have as a result held back on your posting. This is your place. People don’t have to read if they don’t like what you write.

  4. I’m sorry that fear of offending has held you back. I thought the entire study was very thoughtfully done, and so did a homeschooling Ojibwe friend of mine (there is a large Ojibwe population where we live.) Seconding (thirding?) May’s comment – what is clear from your posts is the learning that goes on in your home.

  5. It seems that at some point everyone that posts regularly will get negative and seemingly picky comments. It just seems to be the lot of it, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much. I know what you mean about the hands-on projects. I am seeing that with my boys as well. A difficult part of that is the fact that I have much less photos to add to my posts! My boys don’t like me posting their writing too much so that leaves little to photograph.

  6. I think everyone can relate to the challenge of prioritizing how time will be spent – there really is so little of it! Your kids are very lucky to have such a flexible and creative mom and educator – whatever trials and successes that come of your homeschooling it is clear everyone has a say and everyone’s needs are being considered. I’m sorry to hear about the comments you have received – it is a fine line when exploring and studying any culture, past & present. Your perspective has been on the history of the Ojibwe (and not portraying this as the current reality) – a history little known to most and I think you’ve done a splendid job of broadening the perspective for your kids and your many devoted readers.

    1. Thank you. I hadn’t really understood all the terms and what was the right or wrong way. I still don’t. It was a very interesting study for us though!

  7. Well if it is Americans you are worried over offending…don’t bother. This country is so “politically correct” that you can easily offend anyone with a simple hello. My family has Cherokee heritage and I was not offended in the least bit. You did good…be proud, be brave.

  8. There are many trolls on the internet and encountering them can be a very unpleasant experience. I’m sorry to hear of your unfortunate encounter. I am glad that you are well and am looking ahead to the new year with renewed energy. 🙂

  9. I think that it looks like you guys accomplished a lot with the Native American study, and that you should be proud. I’m amazed at all the things you guys learn and do….As far as hands-on projects go, my husband is a graphic artist, and I spend almost all my “spare” time with needle arts, painting or something artistic, so I strongly believe that hands-on projects should many times just be done for the sake of the creation and the art itself. Different families (and different children), however, have different opinions on what’s right for them, and you and your children will know what is right for you guys 🙂

    1. Thanks Rebecca. I agree that hands on projects are fantastic but I’m thinking my children might need a little more academic work. I’ll not be stopping them altogether simply because I enjoy them so much!

  10. Well, if that doesn’t beat all!!! You have done a most excellent job in the study of Native Americans. I would let those comments fly right out the window and not give them a second thought. Your blog is not required reading (except for some of us) and if someone doesn’t like it, they can just move on to something else. AMEN to storyad. That is absolutely the truth over here in America. It is a shame.

    Claire, you just keep on doing what you are doing and don’t try to worry about whether or not you will offend anyone. As long as you are doing what God is leading you to do in your homeschool, you are doing fine.

    Hugs and hugs to you, my friend.:)

  11. I’m sorry you had someone upset with you. I was worried that might happen with some of your posts (I had the same thing happen back when I wrote some material about a Cherokee project a few years ago).

    It is interesting how homeschooling changes as your kids get older, what you can and can’t do. No matter what I look forward to what you do with your kids. Keep on writing and enjoying your learning.

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