Over the past couple of months, we have been taking in a couple of young kids into our home on a fairly regular basis. It started out as a holiday sleepover, which led to singing sessions, piano lessons and more recently, an up and coming singing group with piano, guitar and violin accompaniments! And our latest project is a group study session where the kids learn about the world around them using resources from the internet with pictures being projected onto a screen. In the process, the kids learn geography, history, math and science either directly or indirectly.
Sleepovers – this is a very good way to have the kids learn independence and to experience a different lifestyle from that of their own. For example, the kids learn to eat foods that they do not usually partake at home such as vegetables, local kuihs, or fruits, or even French toasts. They also get to learn how to prepare some of these simple dishes!
Piano lessons – I do not normally offer to teach the piano to anyone, except for special reasons, like children with special learning needs. So when I’m approached to teach such children, I usually do not decline unless I cannot find the time to fit them in. And I have discovered that these children CAN learn to play the piano well as long as we believe in them and their abilities to learn, albeit, a little differently.
Keith came to me because no other teacher wanted to take him in due to his autism. I took him in not because I knew anything about autism, but because I believe that anyone CAN learn to play the piano as long as they really wanted to. He does not read notes but he plays jazz music very well. I took Jon in because I wanted him to feel good about himself amidst all the negative feedback he gets from school and at home. I wanted him to know that he is a smart boy and can handle the piano well, which he did! His parents finally bought him a piano and he can now play many delightful tunes, the latest being Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”.
Learning the guitar – Much as I would like to take credit for my daughters’ desire to learn the guitar, I have to concede to Maria Digby and Taylor Swift as their inspiration. I told them to learn it on their own – I had given them foundation in piano and the violin, which did not seem to have led to anything, so now they would have to figure the guitar out for themselves. Which they did, quite amazingly, I must admit! They can now play some awesome stuff (and sing along as well!) so, this really proves that children (and adults for that matter) CAN learn on their own if they really want to!
Violin revival – The violins had been in storage collecting dust for a while now. Then, because we were invited to perform in public last weekend, the violins were subsequently revived! They girls started to play music on the violins again and that’s music to my ears! Literally! Now that they do not go for their weekly classes anymore, they are actually enjoying their violins! Playing to others is a greater motivator than having to play to one’s teacher on a weekly basis. Because music is to be shared, not kept for oneself or the teacher. The more one shares, the more one wants to play! Now they have also found friends who also plays the violin so a little ensemble is being formed!
Study group – This is KV’s pet project and the idea is to have these children do a weekend study group together. The children learn about the world around them through global issues on the environment, for example, that leads to geography, history, math and science, and many others! The idea is to make learning fun and engaging for the kids. To our surprise, the kids really loved it (except for our Sam who was sprawled on the floor looking terribly bored despite the fact that her dad had his projector on showing all kinds of interesting types of leeches from around the world! Can’t win them all, can we?
So, this is our little “school” or “homeschool co-op” as we have recently discovered. We don’t know where it would lead to but it may just be interesting to find out later, wouldn’t it?
Are we ready to take is more homeschoolers? Still considering – depending on potential student or students. Contact us (here)