The F Words

We have been trying to find a structure that ensures we cover traditional school subjects as well as extends into additional areas (all while trying to keep LM excited about learning).

I woke up earlier this week with a little formula in my head: Fundamentals + Functional + Fun + Free. The plan is that each day will include all 4.

I explained Fundamentals to the little one as covering all those topics that help her brain to work well (I may have said ‘improve her cognitive function’  but then I remembered that she is eight). This includes traditional learning like maths, spelling, writing, logic exercises and science tasks as well as developing the ‘tools’ to do them (apps, programs, tools etc). LM actually has a good grasp of Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development and so I was able to explain that these tasks help ensure that she has the basic physical tools and thinking tools needed to expand her thoughts, skills and behaviours.

Functional is about developing skills that teachers and schools often aren’t able to fully develop because they are limited by classroom structures and sizes – the things that parents and society ought to do. For us these include things like repairing her bike, taking responsibility for preparing our bnb for guests, writing and budgeting our grocery shop, growing plants from cuttings, cleaning out and rearranging our fridge, converting currency, using image editing software, collaborating online and baking with no guidance etc.

Fun is active time together that is up to LM. Most days she chooses a bike ride and a swim (where she asks 10 questions about the world as we go), but some days she chooses to ride to a cafe to get a cuppa and play board games or to go for a walk to visit our favourite pets or collect succulent cuttings. These times are great as they allow us to be ‘in’ the world together, talking about all sorts of wonderful things. I tend to let her guide the discussions as it not only lets her feel important and valued, but it also leads to a lot of unexpected learning and great insights into her beautiful mind.

Free is actually my free choice topic each day – sometimes I do let her choose though. It’s my chance to tell her about something that I am genuinely excited about. It might be a theory (like Vygotsky), or to show her colors magazine, or how to do a backbend, or how to make bath bombs. The point of this topic is to share our excitement about something. And I’m hoping that as we progress she will choose as many ‘Free’ topic to teach me, as I choose to teach her.

We are only a few days in but so far, so good. It offers us both daily goals that are SMART [specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time limited] – and we both quite like a good goal.


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