Monday, 11 June 2012

Glib smug bastard

I want to help Charlotte. I really do! But I can't answer her questions. They are too hard. Seriously.

Q1. What year did you begin (and finish) learning at home?

Me? The kids? At home? Learning? Begin? Finish? It's so confusing. So I'll say learning begins the moment you live and stops the moment you die.

See? NO HELP AT ALL. With such a glib and annoying answer like that, Charlotte might now fairly conclude I am a smug picky-fighty little bastard deserving to be clipboarded in public on my own doorstep by a local authority staff member, twenty years my junior, who believes he commands respect when he wears his polyester two-piece from BHS.

But! If I answer those questions more carefully, I can only answer in anecdote! Then I think there is a hope at least to convey some of the nuances and complexities that make up lives of home education.

Hmm. You see, this is why grit's day exists, Charlotte. People ask such difficult questions!

Well, anyway, today I put myself in Squirrel's bad books. I moved a bookcase from her bedroom. She was FURIOUS.

In my defence, we have several thousand books and sometimes I would like to pick them up from the floor. (Bookcases are useful, no?)

Example: squillions of rocks, and squillions of books about rocks, heaped about the hall. Could I not move a bookcase from A to B, resolve the quarry and create a space in Squirrel's room to install a new lovely storage solution? So that's what I do.

Hence Squirrel's problem. I moved her squirrelling stuff without permission.

I learned lessons here, from this day, and so did Squirrel. By bedtime was done, I had apologised for not respecting her squirrelling holes, she had apologised for over-reacting about the bookcase, we had both visited Ikea to replace the missing shelves, and we had chosen a battered leather sofa in Help the Aged warehouse for Squirrel lounging purposes. Sum: another step on the way to the eyeliner years when she thinks painting the bedrooms black is an original idea.

And I claim it's our education.

We made a better solution by working together, albeit one that made me poorer, and one reached from a rocky start of squealy-shouts, bad grace, and a little intemperate door slamming.

The solution also involved showing respect for each other; taking responsibility for our actions; solving problems; becoming resourceful; speculating on solutions, scenarios, consequences; negotiating; seeking consensus; and finding a course of action and living that results in the maximum achieveable household happiness.

If you're looking for disciplines, Squirrel measured the shelves and sofa, calculated floor areas, took a books:shelves ratio, estimated weights, calculated the budget of her child benefit, and project planned the practical management needed to get the new sofa in and the old toys out, involving her diary and a timetable.

In my way of seeing, this is learning. There is no start, except that of life, and there is no end, except that of death. We are learning all the time; we are learning how to be.


kelly said...

I follow you closely because your are a year ahead of me in child ages, and light years ahead of me in your home ed experience.

Reading this post is so comforting, when my day has consisted of rushing around dropping small people to places, a nine year old baking a birthday cake solo for a sibling whose birthday we have moved by 24 hours to give everyone in the family the opportunity to be home for it and toilet cleaning (for me, sadly).

At night when the smells are all in bed, I sit down and wonder what education has actually taken place. To know that there is education all the time takes the pressure off :)

Grit said...

yes, i think in home ed there is an education all the time, everyday, even inside the arguments and conflicts, although we might have to work hard to draw it out, it's there.

(god, i sound such a sanctimonious little git. kick me.)

kelly said...

Haha, I called them smells! I meant smalls! And no, you don't sound sanctimonious, it's a balm to my frazzled soul.