After my recent fears about whether or not I am spoiling the kids with lavish gifts or not, I have decided to turn my attention to something more educational for them. The children both love school but sometimes they get a little bored because, academically speaking, they are both very gifted and more advanced than their classmates. The school has a policy on not permitting children to skip a year, so this means that both my son and daughter are regularly completing work that comes very easily to them. The social interaction they attain from school is just wonderful but they are not being challenged intellectually. I really do like the children to have some down time after school and at the weekends and just play. They are kids after all and learning through play is extremely important, as is the ability to enjoy themselves.
Nurturing Inquisitive Minds:
However, I want to be able to satisfy my children’s thirst for learning and nurture their brilliant minds. Therefore, I am looking into setting up a home school environment for some extra curricular, advanced home tutoring. My husband and I are currently looking for a tutor to take on this challenge. We don’t want to pressure the kids into a situation where they feel like they are always learning but, as they have surpassed the educational level in their respective classrooms, I would like them to carry out some additional learning a few times per week.
To Do or Not to Do?:
This is such a tough decision for me because, although on the one hand I want them both to enjoy their childhood and cherish memories of play and fun when they are at home, I think they have so much fun at school that some additional learning won’t be too tiring for them. In fact, I believe it will actually energise them. Both children are keen for some extra tutoring and they are hungry to learn more and more, especially with regards to science and nature. I’d love to employ a tutor who would not restrict lessons to the home but also take the children out, into the countryside to allow them to explore things, such as how plants grow and where the water in rivers and lakes comes from, by themselves. They have very inquisitive minds and they love to solve complex problems independently. A tutor will simply help to guide the children in specific areas of learning and assist them with anything they are unsure about.
A Perfect Environment for Stimulating Learning:
As much as I love the idea of much of the tutoring taking place in the great outdoors I also respect that an environment set up with the intention of engendering a supportive and stimulating learning space is really important. More importantly, we live in the UK and it’s pretty cold here for most of the year! What I would like to do is to turn our study/guest bedroom into a classroom for the children. From doing a bit of research, I would like to purchase some traditional learning materials, such as a whiteboard (perhaps even an interactive whiteboard), desk and chairs, globe, reading chairs, bookshelf, and display shelving. I would also like to bring some of the outdoors into the classroom by incorporating displays of nature and even growing some vines and other plants in the classroom. This is very much in line with the Reggio Emilia approach, which suggests that bringing nature into the classroom provides a more positive and effective learning environment for children. See the picture below for an example of a Reggio Emilia classroom.
Setting Up the Classroom:
There are some great materials available for setting a classroom up at home. I have been looking at various websites, such as this one, and have found some wonderful home learning aids and furniture. I really do not want to spend a fortune though, seeing as this is not going to be used as a full-time classroom.
Living in today’s throwaway society may have its downfalls but it does also mean that there are some very good quality bargains to be had by people who are constantly upgrading their possessions. I have found some cute wooden desks and chairs; an interactive whiteboard; hundreds of children’s story and educational books; learning aids such as Montessori materials, globes, magnets and magnifying glasses; and a multitude of arts and crafts materials on this site that sells previously loved goods. By buying secondhand I can set the entire classroom up for the same cost as buying a brand new desk and chair set! What a relief. All I need to do now is find and hire a passionate, creative tutor who can think out of the box and help my children to nourish their brilliant brains.
I’ll be back soon to let you all know how I get on and, hopefully, inspire some of you to do the same with your clever kids at home.