Last Friday R was booked for two trips in the Museum, a Bubbleworks show and a workshop on blood. She really enjoyed the Glorious Blood workshop. I guess all of these trips are a means of providing her with avenues in case she wants to venture down those paths further herself. HE Facilitation.
I was speaking with one of the sisters there and we began talking about what she does with her little ones (she has 6 children ages 11 to a few months old mashaAllah) whilst she does formal work with the older ones. The conversation led to how much the children watch.
For a long time now, I have felt uncomfortable about what my kids watch and how much they watch. We don’t have a TV – we got rid of all the free channels by cutting the cable off back in 2005 when R was only a year old. But we do have the internet, DVDs and iplayer.
I have been reading up a lot about the ill effects of watching too much (in our case, not TV but maybe iplayer and youtube). I have decided after a bit of research to limit as much as I can and if they do watch then I’d like it to be something educational.
With that in mind, I made a list of alternatives to watching and actually found that there are entire websites dedicated to providing lists of activities for all age groups so that watching is reduced or in some radical websites – eliminated completely!
A recent alternative for us was the classic camp at home. I brought down sheets and blankets and draped them over our dining table. Boys and R loved it – just needed torches!
As I mentioned in previous posts, doing formal work with R in the morning isn’t working. And so, for some time now we do our formal home ed in the afternoon instead. My boys are very active and with their Algerian blood they need to run otherwise they DESTROY!
So, yesterday, as soon as breakfast was done, we ventured to our lovely local common. It was freezing cold but it was great mashaAllah. We started off in the empty children’s park and the kids played on the swings and slides. And then walked right to the top of the Common to visit the Rookery. On the way up there, we saw many live worms which caught the kids interest. R picked them up from the paths and moved them to the muddy grassy area (she was scared they would dry up in the sun!) Z then found a squashed dead worm which he became obsessed with and kept asking me why Why WHY it had died. A black crow squaking caught Y’s attention which we observed for some time. R then suggested that one day we come back and do some bird watching. I asked her what we would need for that (facilitation in play on my part). She said a notebook to note down their characteristics and then when we got home we could look them up in an encyclopedia. I asked her what the best season would be for bird watching (facilitation again) She said Spring. I asked her why and she said due to the mating season and all the activity that it involves – birds building nests, collecting food etc.
The World was very much our classroom yesterday. And I felt grateful to Allah that we could share interesting discussions on a cold Monday morning instead of my children being locked up in a classroom with a curriculum that imprisons so many children.
The kids had fun scootering back down the paths we had struggled to climb. We then saw a mushroom which led on to a discussion about fungi we eat and fungi we cannot eat.
Back home, the boys were shattered (yes!) – warm pasta for lunch and hot chocolate. And then it was Quran, Maths and R declared she was going to do some work on her horse project instead of her formal English textbook work – which I definitely agreed to! R then had kickboxing in the evening.
Oh, and one extra good thing about yesterday’s 2.5 hours in the park was that the kids got a lot of exercise and so did I.
It is very much all about alternatives for us at the moment.