Thursday, 10 February 2011

View from the peak

Someone could look at our home education and argue, 'See here? There's not much teaching going on'.

This would be true, if you have a model in your head that to home school is to sit round the kitchen table for two hours a day while teacher-mama points out stuff in books. I guess any deviation from that is unusual, if you keep that model in your head.

But here we are, walking round the mountain, enjoying the views, and drawing the trees. Right now, in this time and place, we aren't doing anything like a kitchen table lesson.

Someone might draw out the inference that because we're not doing anything like that now, we never did. We never will.

Yes, we've done lessons, although not now, not here. The kids might do them again. I expect they will.

Right now, I can try. Some days I would like to sit down and point at a book. Something like maths. I might even carry the idea through into action. One child at a time.

I'd expect the experience - you might call it 'a lesson' - to last for about ten minutes before both of us will have had enough. The experience might end when I suggest my pupil could learn more about that subject area for themselves. Hopefully, my pupil wouldn't already be departing, seething and wishing I was dead under a bush.

Because now, things are changing. It was easier to do that type of 'lesson' when the kids were little, and open to bribery with cereals. Now, they're nearly aged eleven, and gearing up to know about everything. Soon we'll get to that point where I shout Have a nice day! And they'll slam the door and snarl, Don't you tell me what to do.

So here we are, walking. I can see that the 'lessons' my late primary age offspring are having right now, in this time and place, are those I've had no conscious hand in organising, planning, or controlling in any way.

The other day, Shark took herself to her room for two hours. She returned, having copied out the first witchery scene from Macbeth. She'd found the play script and a prose story. She then said she would like to compare the two, so we set about talking how the two styles were the same and how they differed. I thought, I'm sure I taught this lesson years ago to 4G. I'm sure I recall the sharp thinking and rule breaking to get the lads involved. They played the thunder, and shook the building. Rewarding, but hard, and probably not of any lasting impact. The other day with Shark, it was easy and painless, and the tickets for the play are booked.

I can see my children change, and I know I need to keep this flexibility. Lessons, or no lessons. Kitchen tables, or trees. Something that looks like teaching, and something that doesn't. It would probably help if snap judgments weren't made of us.

So what I'm logging down about this way of education - before I forget, and with or without a Travelling Aunty - is that change is vital. And I need to plan for all options.

The kids might yet choose tuition full-time, flexischool, independent learning, or turn their back on schools, and set up in business as a horse whisperer.

Personally, I'd like to see those options kept wide open.


KnittyFlitty said...

Thank you for this post, your timing is impeccable!

Grit said...

that is a great comment knittyflitty! here i am being one week behind; years ahead; just on time.