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Be a Tourist in your Town - Live life with your kids - Issue 071
September 12, 2008
Hi there! ....

This week:

Several weeks ago a friend’s mother taught our girls Crazy Patchwork along with many embroidery stitches to decorate the patch. This week they finished their project by making into a bag. It was a good time to take stock of their sewing kits and get them to rights again. Jessica has been tidying and organizing my craft cupboard for me. As she dug deep into the cupboard and uncovered things that hadn’t been used for years it was like Christmas time all over for the girls. I have given them the freedom to use anything in the cupboard – expect for one box of my favourite materials (that is mine!)

Speaking of Christmas, Jessica has written a list to help kids get ready for Christmas though I may just use this simple list to organise myself too! Christmas minus Trauma and Drama. (pdf file) I believe her lists focuses on the real stuff we need to do, and makes getting ready for Christmas happen without stopping the rest of our life. Her programme started this week, you may have to be a little creative to catch up, but it is just one week and very doable. Check it out!

Live life with your kids!

Family Life is a Resource for Education

Be a Tourist in your Town

We live in a town that, come the cooler months, the population swells with tourists. They come to enjoy the incredible countryside that we live in. When I talk to a tourist I am challenged about how much of this beautiful country I have actually seen myself. It is the same story wherever you go – the locals are the worst tourists!

Your local area though can become an amazing educational tool – do you use it?

Some years ago I gave Joshua an assignment that was prompted by my desire to develop leadership skills in him. He was required to go to the Tourist Bureau, find brochures that tell tourists what to see and what to do in our town. He was then to plan a week of tourist activity for the family. This particular assignment gave him many good life skills – there was communicating to the ladies at the Tourist Bureau (he also had to communicate his plan and thinking to me), map skills, and organization skills; considering time, people and costs.

We had a ball that week. Every morning we headed off to another adventure. We took plenty of photos, talked lots, ate food in different places, laughed and did some silly things. All of which are great memory making activities!

What is there to see in your town?

  • Nature – beauty spots, land formations, sunsets
  • Bushwalks and adventure trails
  • Animals and Birds
  • Unique industries
  • Historical sites

As you plan your day you have two options; you can just enjoy the time out and about with your family, or alternatively you can have some formal learning expectations – either way your children are going to learn something.

I have recently been made aware of the benefit of pre-activity learning before we go to these places. When we teach at home and then go out and enjoy, the children have the context information to build their experiences and observations on. When we interrupt their enjoyment of a place though (be it out in nature or a museum) with an information lecture we interrupt their process where they are making connections.

Hand in hand with pre-activity is post-activity. Debriefing, where everyone shares what they learnt or felt or saw is a great family habit to get into. Ultimately it is just talking to each other and being interested in what the other family members have to say. But if we want to put an educational word to this it would be “Narration”. Narration is simply telling back and making connections with information. As we talk about our day, the things we learnt will begin to gel and that is the process of true learning. Read more about Narration without Books on my website.

If you expect some “output” after this family day it is best to warn the children before hand. We have done a few different projects after such family days:

  • Nature journaling
  • Photographs – scrapbook the day
  • Lapbook (this can either be a short term project and lapbook what you discovered on one day or a long term project when you collect information over a year and lapbook as you go)
  • Blog about it
  • Write a letter about your day – Grandparents, cousins, penpals
  • Notebook it

To plan such a family day out you have to consider all ages and the constraints that exist in a family; baby nap times, toddler’s attention span, and different individual’s interests. As a family you have a budget to consider which will affect places you see, souvenirs you buy and food you plan. You may have time limitations to fit in with your husbands work, or other family commitments. None of these things are an excuse for not being a tourist though. Each of these things can be worked around.

My top tips for being a local tourist are:

  • Make your trips short, to suit the youngest ones in the family
  • Make each trip varied from the last in some way
  • Take plenty of snacks and drinking water. A packed lunch is also a good idea.And most of all, make it relational – have fun!

Website Updates

The link last week for Manners Matter has been fixed. My apologies for the broken link. We do need to teach our children manners, not only the what to do but more importantly the why.

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Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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About Live Life with your kids Newsletter I know homeschool mums are busy with lots to read, so I have divided my newsletter into four sections and you will receive one section a week; short but regular newsletters!
  • Be a Deliberate Parent – Encouragement to continue in purposeful and intentional parenting.
  • Family Life is a Resource for Education – Spotlights on a particular aspect of family life so we can see the natural opportunities available to us in educating our children.
  • Character Education – Each month we focus on a different character trait – The newsletter will include application for Mums, as well as seeing character training opportunities in everyday life.
  • A Homeschool Thought – Discussing homeschool issues

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