Making a homeschool learning plan has always been a scary thought to me, especially with 4 children. I have talked before how this year I am changing the way we home educate and doing it more child led learning. Here in BC we have enrolled with a program called Self Design (http://www.selfdesign.com/ ) and with that we got to choose a Learning Consultant. Basically your Learning Consultant is there to support you and your family in your learning needs. Your Learning Consultant is also a certified teacher but they believe in the fact that kids have a natural ability to learn and we are there to simply foster that. Every week we write a journal to our learning consultant, who is Rob Broughton, and he writes back to the kids. I was quite worried about having to do the journaling as I am the type of person who always wants to but never quite does it but I have to say it’s been great! My kids love helping write about their week (thank goodness!) and they especially love getting their response from Rob. Every response from him is so well thought out and he sends great information for them to look at based on what they are showing interest in. It could be a website, a video, a game, even a picture and the kids get so excited.
We Finally got to meet our Rob after months of emails and phone calls and we couldn’t have been more thrilled. Rob was loved by the kids and we had an immediate connection with him. The beginning of our time together was just talking and getting to know eachother and the kids. I was so impressed with how Rob really listened to the kids and gave them ideas to what they could do with what they were telling him. For instance my son is wanting to learn all he can about the War of 1812 and Rob quickly gave him suggestions on how he can add information to a model of a battle field that Cameron wants to build. Cameron was so excited about it and I was happy because it would get him practising his printing without the complaining!
After about an hour Rob told me he wanted to do a learning plan with the kids. I have to say I was not happy about this part. I pictured us sitting at the table going through each subject, each child and having long discussions about what they kids should learn, have to learn, want to learn. *yawn* I imagined the kids saying “I don’t know” to every one of his questions and having no interest in anything and then me having to sit there and encourage them and say “what about this?!”
Much to my excitement it wasn’t anything like that. Rob had the kids gather felts and sticky notes and sat them down on the carpet in the living room. He pulled out big sheets of paper and got had it folded so there were 4 squares. In each square he had 4 headings: Spirit, Body, Mind and Heart. Rob then asked the kids if they woke up tomorrow morning and your mom and dad told you that you have a day to do whatever you want what would you do? He had them write all the things they would want to do down on sticky notes. Cassie, my oldest, wrote things like read, make stop motion videos, write, swim, bake and lots of other things. My son Cameron said Minecraft, hockey, learn about war and a few more. My daughter Jordan had the longest list and Teagan had a lot of things that included exercise and sports.
After the kids had done up their sticky notes he explained to them what each of the 4 categories meant.
Spirit – What do you believe in ? Do you believe in God and attend Church? What is your philosophy on life? Anything to do with what your belief is and stuff.
Body – Activities that are good for your body. So this is where you would put any physical activity you do.
Mind – What are the things that make you think?
Heart – Spending time with others like your family and friends. Being with people you love. This can include your animals!
So the kids had to take everything they wrote on their sticky notes and put them in the categories they thought it best fit. If they felt that they fit more than one then they could position it on the paper that showed that. I was so surprised at how much the kids enjoyed doing this but more of all I loved that I got to know them more and what their interests really are! I thought I knew my kids pretty well, and I know I do, but this made me look at them more as individuals. I homeschool to make it more individual for them but sometimes it’s hard with so many of them.
The next step Rob had them do was beside the sticky notes, and they didn’t have to do them all, write down any goals they may have. My eldest daughter wrote that her goal is to write and finish a novel this year and beside reading she said she wanted to read at least 36 novels. One of the twins said she wanted to learn how to swim without a life jacket while my son said he wanted to save money to buy more Lego. I think that this was a great way to get into deeper discussion about how he wanted to save the money and what kind of Lego sets he wanted to get and why. It made me see that these kids not only have goals they actually know what they want to accomplish within those goals. It was eye opening.
Since that time we have put their Learning Plan up our wall and the kids have added things they want to see up there. I see daily how they are working on their goals without even thinking about that paper but just because it is what their interests are. I love this type of education and the more I just sit back and help with what they want the more I see them learn. I cannot wait to see what this year has in store for the Fishers!!