Saturday, November 26, 2011

Child Labour Redefined

If you have been to the store recently you will have likely seen or even met my two youngest children. One might be sweeping or washing the windows or reassembling the train table in the play area for the 20th time that day. The other will likely be counting money in the till, breaking down and recycling boxes, or setting up the sharing space for the next group. My kids are 9 and 11 and they come to work with me each day. These are the activities they have chosen to take on themselves.

In late September of 2011 after much contemplation and wrestling with the idea my husband and I made the decision to home school our two youngest children. The other two have attended public school and one is about to graduate grade 12 this year. How we came to the home school decision with these two is a whole other blog post.

You might ask how in the world you can run a store and home school two children at the same time. Good question and one that used to hold me back from doing it until recently. Firstly we don't follow a traditional school curriculum approach, where I teach them lessons and they trade a public school classroom for a classroom at home. Secondly they are both very self directed learners who love to read and explore so they make it much easier to begin with. I am also fortunate that I don't feel like I need the six hour break from them each day because they are independent and get along very well together for the most part. I enjoy their company and teaching them along the way.

The fortunate thing about the homeschooling group that I found is that it's made up of a diverse group of fantastic people/parents who set up field trips and learning experiences that my kids can participate in on a regular basis. They are a wealth of knowledge for questions and since the kids range in age many have been where we are and have great insight to share. My children are not at the store five days a week for 8 hours like some people might think. My staff schedule means I can leave early 3 days a week and the other two are spent with other families or their Grandpa on field trips and learning opportunities.

My children are very happy in this situation. Their learning comes from living everyday experiences. They are exercising valuable skills in socializing with both adults and children and being very articulate, means they can hold interesting conversations with most anybody including adults. One thing you will experience when you meet them is their love of babies and small children. They take great delight in both playing with and admiring them and I am delighted and admittedly very proud of the empathy and gentleness they naturally have for them.

So if you see two little people hanging about at the store and are curious why they aren't "in school" rest assured they are and we are loving every minute of it.

Peace Out,