One of our key components for homeschooling these days is the Alithia Learning Space. Due to our work commitments, it would be impossible for us to homeschool the kids without it.
For several days a week, the boys spend their time there. This is a great space for primary school aged kids. Although the number varies from day to day, it hovers around twenty kids on any given day.
Each day starts with a morning gathering, where all the kids and mentors connect for the day, and do stretches and warm up exercises. This is followed by a discussion about what the kids are interested in spending the day doing. Communication is something they do very well there.
Unless it is raining, everyone spends the morning outside. Like many aspects of homeschooling, it would look a lot like they are just playing games at a casual glance, despite there being a lot going on under the surface. There is lots of building things, group activities, climbing, nature walks, and artwork. After lunch, the group typically moves inside for reading, journalling, board games, and generally calmer activities along those lines.
Due to different people turning up and the morning circle giving the theme for the day, no two days are the same, although they all follow the same basic rhythm. Despite, in many ways, being very relaxed and easy going, at the same time, these days are very focussed and lived with great intent.The boys always come back happy, but very tired.
As part of writing a letter of support, we asked the boys what they had to say about Alithia. This is what they had to say.
- Being encouraged to climb trees, work out risks, and see how strong I am and how brave I can be as a person
- I really like being able to decide things for myself – not being told what to do all the time
- The enormously friendly environment that has helped me make a few more friends
- The time we spend outside for playing and learning together and the amount of space we are able to explore and use each day
- The support we are given to do activities that we choose for ourselves – the process we use to include everyone
- The freedom to eat and drink when we need, to go barefoot and have fun!
- Learning to grow plants for food
- The time we have with the mentors to talk about things we need to, and to talk about interesting topics that help me think and learn
- The music lessons – ukulele!
- Bringing animals into our activities, so we learn to care for different species and respect their needs and to play with them!
- Learning how to help each other to bring ideas to life and learning how to adapt ideas when we find an obstacle
- The work we did together to design, resource and build an obstacle course and to challenge ourselves to complete the course in an encouraging game
- Learning how to negotiate with each other and to deal with conflicts has been so important and will help us be better at this through our lifetime
- We are always learning how to develop complex project ideas and to solve some difficult problems
- The mentors are way more interesting and fun than teachers we have had when we went to school (except for Linda, who was the most brilliant teacher!!)
- The freedom to do my own thing if I don’t feel like being part of the group activities
- I love to spend time imagining what I’m going to do later, daydreaming up ideas for creations
- I like that people help me figure out answers to questions, like how can I attach metal pieces together – we learnt soldering techniques.