Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Brave Blogging: Enchantment

The Bravescopes community on Facebook has a series of prompts to give scopers ideas to follow - or not - as they choose. Not everyone scopes so some people have decided to follow the prompts on their blogs instead. I'm not sure how long I'll keep it up but for now I've decided to play along too.

The prompt for the first week of February (I'm a little late to this party!) was "Share an enchanted experience in your homeschool. I was curious to see which of their homeschool experiences my children considered to be enchanting. So I asked all four of them and, after getting a few unexpected responses (Mr 18 looked stunned at the idea that homeschooling could have been enchanting at all, practically fell off his chair laughing at the thought, asked "What have we done since I was 5?" and then settled on lunch and recess!) I did eventually get a few sensible, usable responses.

Those responses gave me food for thought. No two kids came up with the same responses and on more than one occasion what one child loved and found enchanting, another child hated. Classes at the local science centre were enchanting for my oldest child but my second oldest hated them. Luckily I realised this pretty quickly so didn't enrol her in too many of them - but we did all have to drive there and then sit around while he was in class. Unenchanting for my younger kids but necessary to provide enchantment for my oldest. As an aside he is about to submit his PhD thesis in chemistry so the enchantment with science was long lasting!

Many of the things that I thought were enchanting did not seem to register as such for my kids. Things like read-alouds and poetry teatimes. Only one child mentioned reading aloud and no one thought of poetry teatimes until I asked them outright. I still maintain they found them enchanting at the time though - although one kid did confess to preferring the food to the poetry!

When my two oldest were 9 and 7 we took a year to explore Medieval history. They made a whole series of mini books, games, short essays, drawings and other things which we bound together in one large book. It was one of the first things Mr 23 remembered when I asked him what he found enchanting about his homeschooling. 

I was also surprised to learn for the first time that they had found certain experiences enchanting. As a teen Miss 21 took part in a one-off technology class. It was the first thing that she mentioned when I asked her what she had found enchanting. I barely even recalled the class and certainly had no idea that she had found it so enchanting. Such a shame since I would have made an effort to chase down similar opportunities for her.

While they gave a range of responses one thing all my children touched on in one way or another ("being able to curl up in bed and read all day, especially if it was raining" or "having time for our favourite projects") was the relaxed environment, where they had time to follow their interests and/or just do nothing.  Since this was part of our reason for homeschooling I'm pleased to hear that they all got that and found it enchanting.

So, although I hardly ever managed to enchant all of them at them at the same time (this enchantment is clearly a very individualized thing - at least for my kids), and although I didn't always get it right in terms of what they found enchanting, at least I know the overarching environment was what we were aiming for. And I was enchanted to hear that!

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