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Home School Cool 101.1

Advantage: Activity

A systems that includes your kids.. .instead of making them unhappy and unmotivated.

Oh yes… we have an advantage…
*and it’s helping us lose weight and get in shape too… imagine that! 🙂



Home School Cool – Advantage 101.1

by

Darin Howard

One size does not fit all. That’s the biggest, most egregious failure of the teachers union, the school boards, and our communities as a whole. Less than 5% of the population is attracted to, and promotes ‘sitting still doing busy work’ for 12 years and calling it ‘an education’. A place for kids to ‘learn’ is the last thing that any of the K-12 brick and mortar systems represent.

Failure is what we fund with our taxes. We fund failure, and depression.

If you move faster than the slowest common denominator, you’re beaten down to insure you don’t move too fast.

Other kids move faster than you – you’re made to feel stupid.

But it’s far worse than just those simple, depression creating mechanisms.

If you’re normal, you don’t want to sit still for six hours of boredom a day… and that environment is completely toxic to our bodies and minds… but these teachers and these school boards will not change, ever. They are happy with a prison that forces normally active kids to gain weight, become unmotivated, and to destroy their normal habits of physical activity, curiosity, and healthy childhood development.

Your body is designed to walk between five and 40 miles a day… every day. If you went to institutional school – that probably seems like a long walk.

Your body and mind are designed to run, dance and perform amazing gymnastics no matter if you’re built thin or thick, tall or short… but if you’re a victim of the school system, at 40 years old you probably can’t run up two flights of stairs without requiring oxygen… or worse.*

*It’s true… at over 60% of our country being overweight, or obese… the chances of people over 40 running up one flight of stairs is minimimal at best.

And that’s where real home schooling starts – with physical activity.

I read about an advanced Japanese kindergarten that let kids run around all day. In the school, there were four areas of ‘education’ where teachers conducted normal type classes, and engaged in children when they came around.

But the kids weren’t given a schedule… here’s what happened.

On average – a child would go to an ‘activity’ for about 20 minutes… then they would get up and run for about 20 minutes. Then they would drink, maybe munch on something, and then attend to another activity. Reading – then a quick run – a drink of water. Sculpture, then run around playing tag – something to munch on – and then back to do something else. 20 minute segments – always punctuated by running around and fun.

I adapted that program for my kids – with amazing results. Myself and my wife have two standardized type of ‘instruction’ classes a day – one in the morning – one in the afternoon. The morning one is preceded by what we call ‘learning TV’ – which is just shows like ‘Alphablocks’ (awesome show) or ‘Numberblocks’ on Netflix, or storybook reading movies, old shows like ‘Magic School Bus’ or ‘Word Party’ from the Jim Henson group – more awesome, fun – semi-learning stuff.

My four year old, who just hangs out – is now sounding out words phonetically – and my Neural Diverse (Spectrum) son is far, far ahead of his peers. That’s our fun morning schedule… nothing major… just exposure to something that isn’t just entertainment.

Then we shut off ALL media. They get outside (which is a struggle sometimes, like when it’s cold, raining… or whatever… which is normal) – but after three years of it now, they’re more than used to it. The complaining is kept at a controllable riot.

Then… after fresh air is installed – they can sit for a quick class – Mom sits down with the oldest two (grade one and three), and does some of the academic stuff. Reading and Math start the week – but later on ‘Social Studies’ can be surfing the net talking about different cultures. Science is helping make bread or cake – even following directions for making macaroni. I take the boys into the shop, we measure, we weigh, they see me and help me build or paint different things.

Learning – becomes an activity – instead of a chore. My sone learned how to read a ruler two years before his peers. My other son is verbal now, where he wasn’t before we started (and we got NO help from the institutions with our spectrum son – more on that later).

We insure the kids get outside even when it’s too hot or cold for most – they’re getting stronger every day because of it – while other kids are scared of the elements or even getting wet.

Our kids have an advantage – we custom fit learning cycles – and fit them into activity, outside and boredom cycles through the day. This has worked so well – that both older boys bring us the lesson books throughout the day – just to sit with us for 20 minutes and work through one thing, or another. Now, our four year old is doing the same. There are a few other elements that go with this – but the routine is easy to maintain, and creates a fun learning environment with both standardized times and routines, and variable times and routines for when we want to change things up.

Our kids won’t suffer depression, and self loathing, because they’re not the 5% that benefit from ‘sitting still all day being lectured at’.

Our kids don’t do ‘busy work’ – but naturally gravitate to both academic and tactile learning. We have a ‘theme’ for some days – where we take math, or science outside and incorporate it into their play. There’s a LOT I’m going to write about in the future – different creativity we add – but now the nine year old boy is starting to lead his own learning exploration, and our six year old helps our Nine year old, and four year old join in.

And the most adorable moment this year: Our Six year old distributed books one night for all his brothers to read… and noticed that our one year old was wandering around looking a little lost. Our little guy went to the bookshelf, got our toddler a big book, and sat on the floor with him, showing him the biology pictures in full colour that the text contained.

For our family – learning truly is part of our daily adventure.

Reality being what it is – we’re formulating habits now with our kids that insure they will read for a lifetime, and pursue learning new things every day – just for fun. And that came from Japan, Canada, and from our home that has four different continental influences with our Arabic neighbours – our neighbours from the Sudan – and us.

Forming a habit of learning at home – for fun – mixed with normal activity for kids is insuring our kids have a HUGE advantage over institutionalized kids. The school system will never keep up to us… ever.

Later – I’m going to share improvements on that simple design, but for now, let’s keep it simple (It took me years to even simplify this program… I’m like that…).

Fun – Learning – Formal – Informal cycles work – every day.

And now – one of our favorite things to do together is to read, colour, do math… together. No forcing anything. No making kids feel stupid. No massive depression. And there’s one other thing…

Because myself, and my wife, get outside with the kids every day – we’re both getting into way better shape.

No ‘butt squats’ for me… lol… we’ve been doing this naturally for a couple of years – and now – I can walk five miles in one day without needing oxygen or serious medical attention. My wife, I’ll freely state, still carries a bit of ‘baby-weight’ naturally – but she ‘snapped back’ so fast this time she’s fitting into her ‘target’ pre-pregnancy clothes – just because she goes outside for a couple times a day – and walks and plays like a normal parent should.

We don’t need any ‘weight loss’ plans… we just need to live our lives… as a normal family that breathes fresh air every day.

And I could tell you more advantages a married couple has when they play outside together every day… but hey… now we gotta get outside because that’s my 20 minutes of formalized academia for this morning.

It’s home school cool. It’s our advantage.

Thanks for joining me.

Darin

Home School Cool is a production of Frog House Design at http://www.positive-action.ca
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