Worldschooling in France – Part One

Welcome to our House !

Handwork Homeschool

We do a lot of learning, making & general fun stuff during our homeschool days.  As a Wild Waldorf Mama – I generally don’t make much of an effort to separate the “learning” times from the “play” times.

We have formal lesson times, 4 days a week.  The rest of the time we just DO.  My kids are learning from the moment they get up until the moment they fall into bed at the end of a busy day.

The giant Lettuce - Handwork Homeschool

Want to come & see our yard?

Everybody knows how good it is for children to spend time in nature.  Of course, there are the main benefits – like fresh air, sunshine, exercise – but there are also benefits that aren’t mentioned quite so often.  The sense of accomplishment after some (self-imposed) hard labour or the sense of freedom while yelling at the top of your lungs or the sense of excitement when hiding in the bushes during an extended game of hide and seek (or “cache-cache” as it’s called in French).

Our Secret Garden

secret garden - Handwork Homeschool

When we lived in Toronto, we had a tiny yard.  Room enough for a large sandbox & to ride a bike in a small circle.  We always hoped that we would have some land one day.

We never dreamed we’d end up with an old orchard, room for a veggie garden, a river that wrapped around our house, a bridge & even an ancient stone ruin (aka my future garden crafting room &  BREAD OVEN) !!

Our Ruin - Handwork Homeschool

When we arrived, no one had lived here full-time in about 20 years.  Needless to say, things were a bit overgrown…

Front Garden - Handwork Homeschool

Andrew got right into hacking back the jungle.

Orchard - Handwork Homeschool

The weeds & brambles were so high, the kids couldn’t even walk through the yard !

Orchard Before - Handwork Homeschool

I’ve often seen books & blog posts talking about the 4 elements & how to include them in your homeschooling.  It’s amazing how naturally the kids do it when left to their own devices.

Earth

Sandbox - Handwork Homeschool

We looked & looked for a great place for the sandbox (you’d think it would be easy with a yard this size…) finally, an unusual idea hit me.  Why not wrap the sandbox around the house ?  It had never occurred to me to dig out one of the garden beds, line it with plastic & fill it with sand.

They love it because they are close to the house & have lots of room for them both to play. Would you be surprised to find that my kids know their way around our local quarry? Andrew can tell you exactly how much a ton of the fine, sparkling sand we bought costs – around 20 euros.

Our orchard had been sadly neglected too over the years, but amazingly our few trees bear  plums, apples & pears.  Andrew, whose interest in anything to do with farming skyrocketed since we arrived, insisted we put in a garden.  Of course, we agreed.

The kids used to stroke & kiss (!) their veggies as they grew.

French vegetable garden - Handwork Homeschool

Water

With a river (this is not a stream, but a real river with speckled trout, that empties out into the ocean !) winding along one side of the house & around the back, we day-dreamed of the kids paddling idly on hot summer days.

The Arguenon River - Handwork Homeschool

In the summer, the water level is quite low & many a river walk has taken place.  What we didn’t know was that we had another “water feature” on our property.

After clearing part of our land which lies on the far side of the river we discovered a strange indentation….

Pond -  Handwork Homeschool

which after a good bit of digging turned out to be …

Hidden Pond - Handwork Homeschool

Pond - Handwork Homeschool

a pond which is fed by a spring that flows down the hills above our house.  Our neighbour, who has lived here since 1938, says she has never seen it before !

Fire

While we’ve been here, I’ve had to get used to my kids becoming more & more adventurous.  Along the way, they have developed many new skills.  While watching his father re-build part of our stone wall, which had fallen, Andrew decided he wanted to build his own BBQ.

Homemade BBQ - Handwork Homeschool

He found old bricks in the basement, mixed up his own mortar from mud & sand & came up with the design all on his own.  The best part of the whole project is that it works !  He even cooked crepes one Sunday morning for us.

He is proud of it (although he still mutters under his breath because we won’t let him light it…maybe this summer he’ll be old enough…)

Wind

Swinging Handwork Homeschool

We do have hopes for installing some wind-generators, as the wind seems to get caught down in our walled garden.  For the moment, most of the wind that gets enjoyed around here is experienced on the swing set.

Playhouse in the orchard - Handwork Homeschool

 

LESSONS

A peek at some of our lessons & “school stuff”.

CREATING

Here are some self-directed projects (wood working is a big one at our house), play-time & as my Mother would say “wool-gathering time”.

WORKING

A bit of the always-ongoing restoration around the house & the great view out my kitchen window of the reverse ravine that wraps around the back of our house.

Next time, come & explore Our Petite Cité de Caractère   (“little town of character”), which was founded in the 11th century & is now filled with an international array of interesting people.

Until then – have a happy week !

Elizabeth

 

Next week, I’ll have pictures of  Our Secret Garden  (see the pond, river, bridge, ancient stone ruin, old orchard & new veggie garden).  It’s amazing how much fun you can have with a bit of dirt & water.

 

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4 Responses to Worldschooling in France – Part One

  1. Linda says:

    Hi, Can I ask where you found your weather tree ? I’d love one for my littles 🙂 Linda

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  2. Lyndsay says:

    Hi yah! Just found you while looking for some volcano homeschool units – and was so pleased to see the work you do. France! So great. We were in Belgium, but returned to Canada (though, harbouring thoughts of diving back into being abroad). So glad to have found your site – will be checking it out often. Best!

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    • Hi Lyndsay

      Glad you like what we’ve been up to ! There is SO much more coming… I could make stuff all day long. I’ve always wanted to go to Belgium. One day, we’ll have to hop in the car & take a little trip. Volcanoes? I wonder how you ever found me ?
      A bientot !

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