Self Design: enrolled homeschool/unschooling series 001

This past September,  we opted to enroll Goose into an online school called SelfDesign. Through it we got to choose a teacher, called a learning consultant,  that we write weekly reports to regarding Goose and our activities/learning from the previous week. She then rewrites it into teacher speak and submits it for credit in the BC school system. We are free to school or unschooled as we see fit for Goose,  but she does offer support and suggestions  which I have found incredibly  helpful. Also, we have access to some provincial funds for school supplies and courses. 

I’ve decided to post some of our weekly reports, as I have found it helpful to see how much learning takes place in our day to day lives…

For the week 04-09-2016 to 10-09-2016 we were exploring Scotland and then travelling back to Canada.

Goose has really loved Scotland. He especially enjoyed all the castles, his favourites being the ruined ones. We spent a lot of time exploring the ruins, discussing who lived there and what they might have been doing. The kitchens and the dungeons really intrigued him. It was so much fun watching him running around, touching all the old stones, peering into old fireplaces, wells and chimneys.

At the house we rented in Kilmarnock, Scotland – Goose had so much fun watering the gardens and playing with the cars in the playroom. He spends a lot of time talking to the toys and himself, making up elaborate stories full of actions/movements. He really is quite the auditory learner! Every evening, Goose spends a lot of time walking around talking to himself. After listening to him we have realized it his how he processes his day. We’ve done a bit of research and it seems pretty common for auditory learners, we are just trying to figure out how to help him focus it as it can get quite loud at times. Putting him in the bath seems to be a great way to help him process out loud without interfering with the activities of the other people in the house.

We also had the opportunity to visit the Dick Institute in Kilmarnock, which Goose enjoyed so much. They have a small mostly hands-on museum. Though Goose shyed away from the stuffed lion and dinosaur, he was very interested in the human skeletons. He wanted to know who they were and we spent some time talking about them. He has been very interested in death and also the different processes of the human body. Through the interest in death, Goose has found a love of Robert Burns poetry and of the man himself. At the museum they had an old printing press that was used to make his first book of poems. Goose spent a lot of time on the computer there writing his own poems (though he wouldn’t translate them from random keys for me to understand).

Thankfully, due to having very outdoorsy family in Scotland, Goose has had two amazing experiences that I really didn’t think he would have a chance to partake of anytime soon. First – he was able to kayak on Loch Winnoch with his Daddy and second cousin! He was so nervous, but still really wanted to go. I felt for him, but he managed to get control of his fears and  had a fantastic time. He was so proud of himself for doing it.

Secondly – Goose got to ride a horse! He has wanted to ride a horse for a long time, but we just didn’t have the opportunity. Thankfully one of our family members has a horse and when we went to the barn to visit it a lady there said Goose could ride her horse (which was a lot calmer!) Being at the barn and watching the horses being ridden was the first time Goose has been really calm and quiet for a long period of time. He is a very auditory child – but somehow being around the animals really calmed him down. Again, he was so brave about getting on the horse and really concentrated on what the lady was telling him. He sat so straight and calmly that the lady was surprised when we told her it was his first time on a horse! I saw such a spark in Goose and I have made a point of looking into riding lessons when we are back in Canada full time.

Our last night in Scotland was very eventful! We were all settled in for a nice nights sleep in our airport hotel in Glasgow, when, at 3am, we were awoken and told to evacuate due to a gas leak! This found us all somewhat awake and waiting in the airport for our 9:30 flight a bit earlier than anticipated. Yet, even through it all Goose looked to the bright side – making jokes, finding a restaurant for a very early breakfast, entertaining his sister and being just so helpful to us all.

The past year has been difficult for Goose, and I think I am only just understanding how much he has had to deal with. His grandmother (my mother) passed away after a very long illness. They were very close and shared quite a wonderful bond. Less than two months later, his baby sister was born at home. He was there at the very moment she was born and has just loved her so much, but of course that is also a huge adjustment from being and only child for almost 4 years. Then, 2 months later we left Canada and moved to Spain. And now we have moved back to Canada. I really am amazed at his resilience and sense of adventure. Change has always been difficult for Goose. He really struggles with it at times, but he has been so fantastic through all these changes.

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