One home ed mum once said that when she was explaining her families autonomous approach to their children’s education the EWO in a fit of frustration demanded “But when do they know when to STOP learning?” (Honestly this is a true story).
During the Summer hols I need a break and I don’t ‘formally’ educate the children. However once they have formed the ‘habit’ as Charlotte would call it, of learning they just DO.
Ronan has taken up the recorder that I am afraid I had let slip during term time, and he is practicing it and asking questions about how to play the songs from his book. He has helped take the battery out of the car and get it recharged and refitted. He plays and reads to his sisters.
Meanwhile Iona is reading and writing and working out a play with her friends.
Paintings happen, models get designed and made; stories are read and questions asked and answered. The fact is the children don’t know when to stop learning. There is so much to be interested in and find out about. Why should they stop?
For Alex’s birthday yesterday we went off to Cosford RAF Museum which was free to get into and had a lot to see. There was an excellent Cold War Museum as well as all the planes and bits and pieces about the last two world wars. There is a hands on science of flight area for the children to get stuck into.
We spent this afternoon getting completely drenched at the Nature Centre (only £9 for all of us) which was fun. There’s plenty of animals to see.
It is good to be getting on with life a bit and trying to ignore (for the time being) the continued fight over the Badman review. I am quite sure that home educating families could win this fight, especially with the election due in less than a year, if we all were genuinely interested in ensuring parents maintained their rights and duties and families should not be Government micro-managed. Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be the case.
An article has appeared in both the Independent and the TES by a home educating father attacks Autonomous Education. The TES have a reply from David Yallop. Both of the articles allow comments and it is here that I think we find the problem home educators face. Too many commenters are too quick to the keyboard and don’t spend time wondering about the efficacy of what they are about to write. In the TES a ‘mumwhocares’ points out that she has been bullied by autonomous educators (I know the feeling) and although one or two people said they would never dream of such a thing and accept that all children have a right to learn as best suits them; far too many went on to prove her point.
I am in the ridiculous position of facing three opposing forces. As Iona is autonomous in her learning I face the criticism of the likes of Simon Webb who thinks this means she spends all day playing computer games-even Grand Theft Auto. If she did, this would simply mean I was a bad parent. As it happens the children I know who spent hours with computer games including the utterly vile GTA attend school.
But then my younger children have a more structured approach and so this leaves me facing accusations of being “coercive” and being “stuck in the school model”.
Finally I have committed the great sin of being a Christian which means I am “right wing”, “extremist” “fundamentalist” and of course the worst sin of all for those stuck in scientism “creationist”.
It is hardly surprising that so many home educators and their children are not bothering to get involved in the fight. Who exactly is the enemy here?