Monday, 19 September 2011

The exams debate

So, I had a bit of a crisis.

Nah. Not social/sexual/psychological/marital/financial. I can have those any time, any day of the week. Not even worth mentioning. But this! This is a home educational crisis! My soul bleeds, wounded by home ed.

But I know these feelings. I've been here before.

Like, kid age 4. I packed the mini-humans into nursery. Or tried to. Six weeks fruitlessly persuading Tiger, Shark and Squirrel that they really wanted to sit in a room with a strange woman shaped like a fridge, lit by strip lights, and rearrange flashcards on a table. Oh yes.

Actually, they wanted to cavort outside in knickers and wellington boots while the sun shone merrily and the soil in the garden was just begging to be dug up and the holes filled with water.

The kids won, of course, by visceral means and direct action. Tiger clung to my ankles and bawled, Shark locked herself in the toilet, and Squirrel took off all her clothes in a brilliant, masterful, stroke of silent protest.

Or howabout the time I realised the error of my ways, kid age 7 through to 9. Not strictly a crisis then. More a prolonged, tortured struggle between child autonomy and mama structure. I had a great thing going in unit studies and themed weeks, but slowly it was whittled away by child-led preference.

For this period I'm still resisting the label autonomy in preference for the one which reads anarchy.

But this time, come age 11, I'm experienced enough in the ways of the home ed world to recognise the crisis as it happens.

The upshot is, Shark, Squirrel and Tiger are now on a weekly assignment list which includes working through an IGCSE Geography syllabus. It has been a sort of seismic shift of thinking; we have all made demands, outlined ambitions, swapped mentalities and Shark threatened me with a good hiding.

The very useful home ed exams yahoo group is holding my hand and giving me a cuddle, Dig agreed to buy 200 more computers, and I have come out of hiding from the bedroom to sit at the dining table, outlining key points about Malthus.

Much to my surprise, one month in, I can report our new style of home ed is still working very well. Each week I email a list of assignments in the spirit of 'don't care when you do them, but this is what you can do if you want'; Tiger declares it all good fun, Shark says it suits her timetable perfectly, and Squirrel sometimes gets dressed.

Well, all of this shows a thing or ten. That in home ed we can all take comfort from the experience of others. That I do not expect adventures in the woods to end anytime soon. That home ed in any form can work if the kids want it and enjoy it. That I'm still not in charge. And what great exam resources you can find on the internet.

4 comments:

Ruth said...

Yes mine are more structured now. Structured autonomy I call it.:)

Belgravia Wife - sort of said...

Grit sorry I went quiet I broke all my Apple toys - without you I wouldn't be me , if that makes sense....Bravissimo xxx

Gweipo said...

thought you may be interested in this, now you're back in honkers:
http://kirstenhan.me/2011/09/08/first-day-of-school-at-gaia/#more-3728

Big mamma frog said...

Oh God. It's not just me then.

I even had the children (well, two of them) writing more than their names on a sheet of paper the other day. I mean ANSWERING QUESTIONS on longtitude and latitude.

I daren't come out from behind the sofa. It is all too scary.