Self-directed learners at their best!

Last weekend we were involved with the Art for Grabs at the Lake Gardens, KL. The kids were picked to have a table selling their hand-drawn stones and hand-made wands. And Amrita held her first TreeHouse Open Mic event since her return from Nashville! It was a dream come true for her to have her TreeHouse Open Mic amongst the trees at the park. And the response for it was very encouraging indeed!

Sam also got involved and even performed at the open mic and did a song together with her sister! It was very well-received!

So was the reception to the children’s stones & wands. They even had a special visitor to their booth – Marina Mahathir! She took interest in their artistic work and even bought wands and stones from them!

This was their first public testing ground for their entrepreneurial project, which previously was limited to homeschooling events only. And they were the only kids having a booth there amongst very established artists and designers! We were keen to see how the general public would respond to their products here.

For two days, the kids worked hard setting up stall and talking to people and closing up at the end of the day. We parents are very impressed with their discipline and dedication towards their “job”, especially the girls who showed greater persistence when it came to selling. The boys were more keen to have a good time riding their bikes in the vicinity of the fair. All in all, they all cooperated well to make this sales outing a success!

Looking forward to more future art sales and outings with the kids! Do visit their FB Page Uka Wands and Meila Stones and Bake!

This is self-directed learning in action! An exhausting but exciting weekend of art and music. Good job everyone! You deserve a pat on the back :)

What do homeschoolers do all day?

The question we get asked a lot when people find out that we homeschool is: “What do you do all day?” Well, I have been tempted to throw that question back at the questioner thus: “I don’t know…….what do YOU do all day?” Well, apart from trying to live normal lives like everybody else – sleeping, waking, eating, working and playing – we also fill our time with activities that few people would come up with (except bored homeschoolers who have nothing else better to do with their time!). So here is one of the projects that the kids got involved in recently to fill their many hours of unscheduled, unstructured and unschooled time!

History project – A history fair was organized for the homeschooling community and we chose to do a topic on “Down Memory Lane – a nostalgic visit to the past”.

To go back in time, we would need the essential time-machine of course! And the kids built one :)

After going through the time-machine, one is transported to the past era of kerosene lamps, charcoal stoves and rotary dial phones!

And for childhood memories, games and toys! What nostalgia for the parents!

Oh and not forgetting the old-fashioned snacks and candies which were so cheap!

What do kids learn from projects like this?

They learn that history (or whatever subject for that matter) can be fun and interesting when it is approached with a fresh and curious mind!

They learn to look at old things with new eyes and to value them because they are our clues and links to our past.

From interviewing their grandparents and relatives, they learn to appreciate their elders more because of the struggles they went through in a time where life was a daily struggle to keep alive and to make a living. A loaf of bread cost 20-50 cents 40-50 years ago.

But one had to walk many miles on foot because cars were luxury items beyond the reach of many. The other option was to take the town buses for a few sen per ticket. The jobs that our grandparents had were mostly related to tin-mining or rubber tapping – two of the most lucrative businesses that were British-controlled then.

Most of all, they learned to appreciate and to enjoy history! Hopefully this would lead to more adventures through the time-machine that they built!

Here’s a featured piece of our self-directed approach to learning with our children published by Oriental Daily.

http://www.orientaldaily.com.my/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=141559:&Itemid=241

What Would a ‘Slow Education Movement’ Look Like?

In our fast-speed world where the country’s advancement is measured by how fast its broadband internet speed is, and the measurement of IQ and exam grades are grave concerns of a national scale, what do our kids really need to “survive” in this rapidly changing environment? The answer may not go down well with many “experts” who rigorously market all kinds of educational programmes and packages to parents eager to have their kids prosperously prepared for the privileged few in a world of rapid riches and exclusive wealth. Nor would it make sense to those who have been systematically and skillfully programmed to think in subservient conformity.

But think we must! But not how to be like everyone else and live ordinary lives to be led by others who proclaim to be our leaders. We need to start thinking as leaders unto ourselves and to nurture future generations of thinking and caring individuals who have the greatest desire to give their best to the world.

And to do that, we have got to slow down and make every moment count. How we educate our young will determine the future world that they will inherit. There is wisdom in slowing down.

Here’s a very wise article on why and how we can all do that for ourselves and for our children!

May the Slow Force be with you!

“So what does the Slow Movement mean for education? It asks us to reimagine what it means to be a community of learners. It requires us to embrace the organic messiness of learning. It requires admitting that a large part of what is happening isn’t good for our children, our teachers, or our communities. Rather than a top down industrialized and homogenized assembly line, we need a grass roots Slow Education movement that takes into account what real learning looks like and why children really need to learn more slowly, freely and thoroughly.”

Read the rest of the article below
> http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/08/what-would-a-slow-education-movement-look-like/ >

‘Cosby Show’ turns 30, here’s show’s best parenting advice

If you have not heard of the Cosby Show, you really really ought to search for the series and watch every single episode with the intensity of an enthusiastic intern! Because this is the best parenting series that’s ever been produced! (In our humble opinion). They are celebrating its 30th anniversary this month and in many ways, we feel that we have incorporated much of the family values and parenting approaches from the series with our own family.

Cast of the “Cosby Show”

Here’s some of the highlights of the shows

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The demise and resurrection of Play

When the simple act of physical play is virtually eradicated and replaced by digital devices, it is the start of the sad and abrupt demise of childhood. In this day and age, children have to be taught how to play! How sad.

3 things that kids ought to be allowed to do to preserve their childhood for life:

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Pertinent questions on homeschooling

Originally posted on Learning Beyond Schooling:

Here is a refresher……. for those who have decided to walk the path of homeschooling

Home learning…….

1. How do we start?

View original 322 more words

Are you Ready to Homeschool?

LearningBeyondSchooling:

Still getting lots of questions from parents about this, so here’s the “Test” again :)

Originally posted on Learning Beyond Schooling:

Are you ready to homeschool?

Here is a simple Test to see if you are homeschool material…..

View original 390 more words

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