Today two Julies sit down to discuss how the Brave Writer lifestyle draws on diverse experiences to provide excellent home education.
Julie Kirkwood, our guest, is a mom to three kids who believes in the value of curiosity, exploration and a daily dose of nature in her homeschool world. She created the fantastic home education website Creekside Learning.
Creekside Learning is a space to share STEM and Naturalist learning resources for adventurous kids, as well as inspiration for homeschooling parents. The focus on STEM developed because it was her kids’ biggest interest.
Julie also shares a number of tools that she and her children develop, including Positive Thought Cards. They are positive affirmations for learning that can act as a reset button when you get to a point where learning stops. It’s a unique, effective tool – and it’s completely free!
“The STEM stuff really grew out of my kids’ interests. It was not my big interest, but when I saw how interested they were and how excited they were when we would learn about science and technology, it just grew and grew.”
A huge aspect of the Brave Writer lifestyle is that we are trying to give our children a rich landscape of experiences – it’s not just focusing on language arts properties. If we immerse them in experiences that call out access to language then we find ourselves more capable of writing and more able to draw on a richer and wider vocabulary.
Julie’s family often experiences homeschooling outside of the home. The outings are intentional, but they have no agenda. It’s entirely child-led. She’s found that the learning then continues at home because her children see something and then they want to learn more about it.
“The natural environment becomes important to them, and so it does come out in their writing, it comes out in what they talk about and it comes out in what they desire to do.”
Like nature, a weekly Poetry Tea Time experience can be re-centering for the family. There is something about changing the routine, coming together and simply enjoying poetry (or the outdoors), as opposed to requiring learning to happen, that actually creates a safe space for learning to occur.
“We’re in year seven right now and never, ever have my kids balked or fussed when I said it was time for Poetry Tea Time.”
Julie’s children love to build, which led to a fascination with LEGO and, of course, Minecraft.
Julie views Minecraft as a valuable learning tool. Her children think very analytically when they are building something and she’s noticed that they now look at the rest of the world in a more analytical way.
Julie does have some anxiety about the frequency with which her children, and most children, are in front of screens. She talks to them about and encourages a balance between games, activity and nature.
“It’s really interesting to see them face a new challenge with whatever video game they’re playing and figure stuff out, and I think there’s great value in that.”
You can find all of Julie’s excellent resources at Creekside Learning for incorporating STEM, Naturalism and diversity into your home education. I know I’m going to print out a set of Positive Thought Cards for my family!
You can download show notes for the podcast here: http://blog.bravewriter.com/category/podcasts/
You can download Free Writing Lessons here: