Learning From Life In New Zealand: Camille's Interview

Strap on your seatbelts everyone! We're taking another trip around the world today so we can visit with Camille and her family who live and learn in New Zealand.

Camille has traveled a long way herself, when it comes to her understanding of education and learning. She has two older children, ages 20 and 18 who were not homeschooled and she learned enough from their experience to convince her to homeschool her son, who is pictured above.

Interestingly enough, Camille told me that when she found this photo to send to me, she noticed the sheet hanging up on the wall. It's from the days when she was more structured with her son's education. Since then, though, she has discovered the benefits of unschooling and says that paper is long gone. Seeing the photo reminded her of "how far we've come..."

1. How long have you been homeschooling (or if finished, how long did you homeschool)?

We have been homeschooling or unschooling our son, age 5, since birth. What we are doing now is a natural extension of what we've always done. He learns new things everyday just as he always has and is loving and learning through life :)

2. One of the main benefits of homeschooling is the freedom and flexibility it allows. Can you give us a few examples of how this freedom and flexibility benefited you (your family)?

The freedom for me is two-fold: On one level we can take advantage of doing things as a family at anytime, rather than after school or on holidays etc. We can go to parks, visit museums, libraries, etc., without the crowds and at our leisure.

On another and probably more important level, our son has the opportunity to learn all the time, when we are out, at home, wherever we are - life is just learning for him. We provide information on what's interesting to him at any given time & it's amazing what he learns when there's an interest - it shouldnt be surprising though as we as adults are a lot more inclined to learn something we are interested in for sure :)

Also he gets to associate with a lot of people of various age groups and relates well in various situations - hes not confined to the one age group.

He is not required to sit for hours and learn things he is not interested in, this would not work for him as he is active and does not do sitting still well as many little boys don't. :)

Just have to share that his older sister who is now grown, started going for her school visits for a week before starting school. After the last day, we had finished the morning there and were leaving, she said to me "Thank goodness we don't have to go THERE again!"

That was only after 5 mornings!!! Made me think that's for sure. :)

3. Another benefit of homeschooling is the fun factor. Can you give us a few examples of some especially fun times you had as a result of homeschooling?

Yesterday we had a hospital appointment which was 1 1/2 hrs away from where we live. After the appointment we all went to the petting zoo, just on a whim, spur of the moment because we had the time and didn't have to be back at any schedule. We had heaps of fun, had lunch, saw the animals and enjoyed the sunshine and the stroll around.

We do things often on the spur of the moment, a few days ago he had a new water pistol - pump action, we spent alot of time running around soaking each other and having lots of fun.

We get to go and visit family at non-peak times due to not having our lives organised around school; it works for us.

Also I think that his self confidence is a lot higher due to being homeschooled & his life is a lot more enjoyable I believe.

4. We all have funny experiences while homeschooling. Can you share one of yours with us?

It amazes us how much my son learns about topics without us consciously talking about them.

For example.... One day quite a while ago he stood on a chair and got some moisturiser down to me and said he'd like to rub some on my legs - YES that would be great.

I pulled my trouser leg up and he saw they were cold and a bit speckly.

He said "You look like you have Chicken Pox."

I said, "Chicken Pox! How do you know what Chicken Pox looks like?"

He said... "I just know things."

It was so funny and cute. I was surprised as he's never seen Chicken Pox or even heard about them that I can remember, but somewhere in our days of learning and observing he'd picked it up - he was 4 at the time.

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