Homeschooling on time and rhythms

Dancing girl with swinging blue and orange dress

These past few weeks, we have all been through a lot of roller coaster information.

In order to preserve my family and take our time to structure our thoughts and accept the situation, we went on a little homeschooling experience on time and rhythms.

I was inspired by backbone research by @alhadeffjones, who has been working on temporalities and adult education for years now in the US and in Switzerland and at the beginning of the quarantine, tried to align work and homeschooling. I also often heard that children react differently (compared to adults) because of their time perception. So I am quite convinced we need to understand their perception and needs. The following video is with Edouard Gentaz, after hearing children’s word he explains that small children will have difficulty understanding long-term measures, for instance:

How did two weeks of homeschooling on time help us and what resources and advice can I share with you now?
–  No need to practice every day. Try whenever you feel like reflecting, take your time.
–  Children love time-questions when they are in control and can be the owners of reflections. They are not part of the race, forget about competition, completion, they are the organizers. As a parent you guide, you can prepare or not. Trust your competences. Don’t be focused on ‘knowledge only’.
–  All themes are included, and as such inclusion is possible. All children have their strengths. We need everyone on this boat. And as this is at the center of my work, I am adding some resources here to help parents (see below) In my work as a consultant, I also help designing pro forma tools but when possible I try to share what exists.
–  We did not really mind the goal, the idea was to think about time, be respectful to one another. We stretched out multidisciplinary but without noticing:-) And we developed transversal competences.

I am convinced all the important questions are asked by children. And also confident that if they ask questions we will find answers somewhere.
As my husband says: ‘have a master plan and then improvise 🙂
I hope you have fun trying some of these, homeschooling, or any other time.

Day 1: Emotions
We discussed emotional changes related to timely organization and day rhythm changes. It is all right to stick to a plan but children are wise and they understand that this plan is just there to keep us from thinking. Times are frightening and we better talk about it.

So on the first day, we concluded some needed to slow down to adapt to the new reality: ‘mama, je suis résilent.’ (mama, I am resil(i)ent LENT=slow)

Day 2: Nature around us
My children not being in contact with their peers, tend to focus a lot on nature, particularly on animals. So spontaneously our discussions went that way. Animal rhythms are different from ours, sometimes similar as well.  They have different abilities and adaptation night & day skills: bedtime rituals of our parrots, cleaning time for the rabbit.  Our children noticed how much they actually communicate and need a lot of time for self-care. On a pie, those two skills actually might get a quarter they said:-)

Day 3: The invisible
We continued on animals: What do animals do while we are sleeping? There are things that we don’t see. Timings when we are not awake. The invisible tasks?  Are we sure it exists?
So I am checking for easy philosopher’s concepts on visible invisible and how we perceive the world with the things we see, and with what we imagine when we don’t see. This all because we have different rhythms:-)

Day 4: Saving energy
How animals are energy efficient. Just waiting, limiting movement, slowing down. Lizards, sharks, … We came across some sayings-the race is not always to the swift:-)

Day 6:  Searches in the past
We chose a book on mythologies and started with Egypt Quest in times and rhythms. Some draw, others read. We looked for symbols of time in the house. We had to guess the animal -symbol of our city of birth:-) recognizing time influences everything. Some topics are in everything we do and cannot be forgotten when we create something.

Day 7:  other’s experiences, empathy, learning
Thanks @careleavernetwork you offer great resilience material on your website! We used it in our session today!  Mama presented artwork from the European care leavers’ network. We were interested in the puzzle. Pieces that come together with time.

Day 8: Uncertainty
Driven by questions like: when are we going back to school? We discussed: What is uncertainty? What is certainty What does it do to us? How do we react? Should I tell them certainty is a belief?… Well, they found out actually:-)  Children understand the concept of probabilities at a very young age and this is how they can also reflect on AI principles and ethics.

Day 9: Collecting a Playlist
Songs including time concepts in our 4 languages: tijd, Zeit, temps. I also explained many newspapers were titled DieZeit, Letemps ….

Day 10: In Europe
Comparing school re-openings in Europe We compared validated dates and latest deadlines. We wished a safe school opening for our friends in Denmark! We tried to understand how governments make decisions at child level.

Day 11 interpretation/ perspective
Using a stopwatch and trying to define if we could be accurate and acknowledge delays between our interpretations of time and ‘real-time’. And also the fact that we can also have an understanding of ‘interpretation lags’:-) When timing activity and accessing time for little ones, show them the clock the first time and then let them guess the time for the same activity, then another one.

Day 12 biases: how does our mind react to time?
We focused on time-related Cognitive biases: the phenomenon of immediacy- & the Zeigarnik effect. We thought about situations in which we were experiencing those time- related phenomena. How time interruptions and delays can actually be our allies.
Immediacy Effect (also called “Hyperbolic Discounting” or “Present Focus Bias”) is the brain’s built-in mechanism that makes people prefer an instant reward over attaining something of potentially more value in the future
The Zeigarnik effect: it was found that interruption during a task that requires focus can, in fact, improve, rather than heed, a person’s ability to remember it afterward.
For Accessibility: start with: ‘now you will learn something most adults don’t know’. Imagine you are a little bee going into your head. You start working and get stopped. Little bee does not stop. It works for you inside your brain and will remind you when all is calm around. This can help soothing transitions out of screens. Don’t worry your brain will remind you when it is calm and you are allowed to, but for now, you can stop:-)

Day 13: handclaps
Watching wonderful improve our learning & express ourselves with handclaps and poetry in our hands

Day 14 Memory tips
Some useful memory tips by @BritishCouncil visualization, multisensory, color, patterns, connect experiences.…

For Accessibility, I recommend: contrast colors and stories to help visualization.

Day 15 reflect
Always a day to reflect back and forward what worked or not we used Eurochild’s child participation toolbox interesting to analyze children’s participation in today’s context. we flagged: Family council & co-productions 🙂 p.160

More accessibility links

Basic vocabulary:
Some files can be used for understanding others for second language users

Sign language:

Discussing a return to school:

In my work as a consultant, I also help designing pro forma tools but when possible I try to share what exists.

Published by indigomama

Indigomama is a cross-cultural mom living in Europe between two cities and two stories. She is a multilingual copywriter, Communications Expert & Trainer.

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