Mathemagenic

Mother tongue and identity

Mathemagenic

Still, for many of us, our mother tongue is bound up with our deeper identity, our memories and sense of self. The article, Can you lose your native language? , is about language attrition, but my brain picks up this piece, because it’s something I’ve been thinking a lot recently. I speak Russian to our kids, but we live in the Netherlands and recently I started to get more pressure to speak Dutch to them when other people are present.

2018 89

15 years of blogging, FB and what’s next

Mathemagenic

Ton’s post on 15 Years of Blogging made me realise that I had reached similar milestone all the way back in June. From all my online experiences blogging has given me the most. A habit to write regularly, a space to look back at my own progress, a network of people that I feel connected to even if we don’t interact much right now. It has also given me a benchmark of what I’d like to experience in an online social space. That brings me to more blogging, less Facebook again.

2017 143

Household activities as part of homeschooling curriculum

Mathemagenic

Emily have learnt how to vacuum clean and is very proud of it. I still smile thinking of her beaming face when she told her grandmother that clean carpet at their feet had been cleaned by her. I always say that in our family household work is an important part of the curriculum.

2016 193

A sense of community

Mathemagenic

Now, as our homeschooling community goes through what I’d call ‘growing pains’ and will morph into something new I feel like catching up a few thoughts of what made it as it is. Weekly rhythm: Thursday meetings. When we started more than three years ago we picked up Thursday as a meeting day. First it was just a convenient workday to meet, but over time schedules of several families had to evolve around it.

2018 98

Homeschooling over time

Mathemagenic

I keep on thinking how needs of a homeschooling family change over time. No data-based generalisations here, just observations. In the beginning it’s all about role-models and information. Finding people, who made the choice, and figuring out how to fit it in in the own circumstances. Vision (why and what) and boundary conditions.

2018 89

Verhalen van de zee: shadow puppets, storytelling and learning around

Mathemagenic

Our shadow puppets workshop in Wowlab in April 2016 was very much focused on a puppet itself, its character and different ways to make it. This time we wanted to have a different focus, so the emphasis moved from making puppets to using them to tell a story.

2017 116

Magic work

Mathemagenic

Alexander has been into magician performances for a while now. So we didn’t want to miss an opportunity to see one just across the border in Muenster (and it was in Russian, which is always a bonus).

2017 116

What parents don’t see

Mathemagenic

Homeschoolers hear often that their kids are always supervised by their parents, that they lack time to be outside of the family to learn about other ways of doing things.

2017 116

Learning highlights: October 2017

Mathemagenic

Internet of things with Robert. Video: playing with a tripod and learning making videos together with Lilia. * Stamps and graphic art workshop at Wowlab. Observational drawing, 3d art and recycling art. Watching Nederland van boven : geography, nature, culture and data visualisations.

2017 116

Black cape

Mathemagenic

It was fun to teach him the art of ironing seams. And, with a little advice here and there, he could do the rest. But what I admire the most is the determination. He planned making a black cape for a while. We’ve got a fabric somewhere in the summer and the ribbon a couple of weeks ago.

2017 116

Converging in unschooling

Mathemagenic

Unschooling, as a way to support your children interests is a very divergent practice. There is a lot of exploration, following one’s curiousity and informal learning. Lots of bits and sometimes even parts of a puzzle.

2017 116

Schat van Dalfsen

Mathemagenic

Although we missed public archeological excavation at Dalfsen with our homeschooling friends , there was another chance to do it. A couple of years ago we had a guided tour at an excavation in Velikiy Novgorod. In Dalfsen kids could not only look, but participate guided by archeologists.

2017 116

Legitimate peripheral participation and having fun

Mathemagenic

This is the essence of Wowlab workshops for me, next to making : creating conditions for legitimate peripheral participation and having fun. Unschooling learning highlights legitimate peripheral participation unschooling

2017 116

Making flexible structures

Mathemagenic

What happens if you design and build stuff for your kids’ rooms? They play a family where the parents design and build a room for their kid. And they are true to the details, including the division of tasks between the parents and designing something that can easily change.

2017 116

Facilitating informal learning: mindset, lifestyle and paying attention

Mathemagenic

I’ve posted this photo of Easter celebration with our homeschooling friends on Facebook, but I feel that there is more to say about it. A lot of learning in our lives is informal, embedded, implicit.

2016 173

On homeschooling, integration and Dutch

Mathemagenic

Netherlands, thank you and goodbye – This one came on FB and on It’s written by Kai-Ting Huang, a Taiwaneese user experience designer who left Netherlands after four years on study and work.

2015 178

On socialisation and education

Mathemagenic

Yesterday, in a discussion with our homeschooling friends we talked about schools. About socialisation as a big part of what happens in a school, even when everyone talks that schools are about education. In a sense that question that every homeschooler gets, often before any discussion about learning, confirms it. What about socialization?

2017 89

Winter rhythms

Mathemagenic

Looking for the drafts to finish I found a list with our weekly rhythm last winter. It’s nice to compare with this year. And yes, by “winter” I mean cold homeschooling season that stretches between September and mid-June (overlapping with the “summer” which is somewhere from mid-April to mid-October :). Winter 2016-2017. Monday afternoon: playdates, swimming lessons Alexander and Anna. Tuesday afternoon: choir Alexander and Anna (since January).

2017 89

Learning is everywhere

Mathemagenic

Yesterday I went to pick up a few things at Viermarken , a little farm close to our house. It’s may be 5 minutes cycling, but it was a crispy sunny day, so we (my crew of 3 and me) were not in a hurry and went for a walk on the farm, to look at chicken and vegetable fields in winter.

2015 175

Holding the space

Mathemagenic

Holding space means protecting the boundaries so that people can work. Harold Jarche. As I read this it adds up to another article on holding space and then things fall into places – this is the biggest part of my job in facilitating unschooling. I don’t really give lessons.

2015 167

The magic of connecting the dots

Mathemagenic

What I like the most about facilitating learning is the magic of connecting the dots. Or, better, being patient enough to see the kids connecting the dots by themselves.

2015 156

Convergence and unschooling

Mathemagenic

Unschooling, as a way to support your children interests feels for me as a very divergent practice. There is a lot of informal learning, exploration, following one’s curiosity and seizing the moment. Lots of bits pieces and sometimes even a big part of a puzzle. What worries me the most is convergence , creating conditions for documentation, systematisation, reflection that would be aligned with the values of unschooling.

2017 89

Things you learn while homeschooling

Mathemagenic

Recognise signal in the noise. Literally. Three kids make a lot of noise – they switch activities and materials, they produce a lot of stuff, they occupy lots of space and they are just noisy even if you don’t count the media and electronics that they use once in a while.

2015 166

Intuitive ‘instruction design’

Mathemagenic

It’s third season of the workshops for homeschoolers that we organise together with Wout Zweers , who works at an intersection of art, design and making. Today is another workshop and, being up early, I started to think about my role in the process. The first part is logistical. I sort out the dates, write announcements, communicate with the participants and make sure that contributions get collected. The second one is educational.

2017 89

Life goes on

Mathemagenic

It is always difficult to start writing again after a long period of silence. Like this time. My mother passed away last year. She had a long history of heart problems that were not getting better, but it still came very unexpected (and seeing her writing on FB just hours before made it worse). Next to the emotions there were lots of other things to work out and no desire whatsoever to write in an open space. But life doesn’t stay still. Grieving and all that comes with it give way.

2017 89

Homeschooling in the Netherlands: how to start networking

Mathemagenic

The text below is what I wish I knew when we started our homeschooling journey several years ago and my Dutch was way worse than today. It have been inspired by Phil Agre’s Networking on the Network , which I loved for learning how to navigate in the academic world. To learn about homeschooling from the first-hand experiences and to make sure your kids have contact with other homeschooled kids, you need to network first.

2016 138

From butterflies to pie charts

Mathemagenic

This is how learning usually happens in our family: we start at one point and end up somewhere totally different. This time Anna wanted to draw a butterfly and wasn’t sure how to draw it and how to color the wings.

2015 148

Designing for a family learning: meaningful activities for adults

Mathemagenic

Mixed age group learning is something that comes as a part of homeschooling practice. I think it is worth exploring in other settings as well, for example when looking at learning in a family or a community. In an ideal case learning in a same age class in school is also mixed-age, because teachers should be learning something in a process as well :).

2016 135

Learning to read: full sentences and whole books

Mathemagenic

It’s one thing to hear stories about kids who learn to read by themselves, without use of any particular method. Observing it in your own house is something else. Anna could read simple words in Dutch and Russian about a year ago. Don’t ask me how it happened.

2015 156

Facilitating unschooling: bridging the gap between interests of a child and external expectations

Mathemagenic

I’m at another iteration of trying to come up with a “theory of unschooling”, or at least articulate the ingredients of facilitating learning of our kids in that way. As I wrote before, my personal choices around it are heavily influenced by my work of looking at learning in various shapes in organisation (see Facilitating informal learning and Performance improvement mindset and taking it for granted ).

2016 120

Educational innovation: schools vs homeschooling?

Mathemagenic

My elephant in the dark

Mathemagenic

A visit from Gabriela , bringing back memories of the golden era of blogging and triggering an exploration of optics uses in medieval paintings , also brings something else. I look back at my own path and wonder how all of my experiences of work and blogging are useful now and what I’m going to do in the future with my experiences now.

2016 114

PKM for kids?

Mathemagenic

I’ve been thinking in the last few days about a direction to organise my current experiences and thinking about learning.

2016 116

Family bias and what to do about it when homeschooling

Mathemagenic

2015 152

A jar full of coins

Mathemagenic

While sorting stuff in the bookcases to be replaced I found a jar full of coins. Kids were happy, especially Anna, whose interest in money is pretty strong at the moment, and since I also found her Dikkie Dik piggy bank standing empty.

2016 116

Do I give lessons at home?

Mathemagenic

When I tell people that we are homeschooling our kids, they usually say something like “so, you give lessons to your kids at home, right?” ” No really :). Like today.

2013 186

Mixed age group learning

Mathemagenic

2014 159

Facilitating learning of our kids

Mathemagenic

Where are many ways to do homeschooling (and even unschooling :), so it’s often difficult to explain what exactly we do to facilitate learning of our kids. I can go on and on with specific examples, but also find it important to articulate a few educational principles that guide our practice.

2015 152

Learning highlights: March 2015

Mathemagenic

We are experimenting with multiple places and ways to document learning experiences of our kids.

2015 148

What unschooling and unconferences have in common?

Mathemagenic

When talking with people about our choice to educate our kids outside of a school, there is a moment when I mention unschooling as the basis of our approach. And then it’s a real challenge to explain what is actually about. When I say that there is no curricula that we follow, no list of things to be done for a day of months, and that we follow the interests of our children, it looks like a chaos, where achieving anything is a challenge.

2015 132