Monday, 7 January 2013

Primary to Secondary with Whipsnade

Primary home ed? Piece of piss.

I was mostly terrified by the awful responsibility but, looking back, it was easy. You can base the junior years on play, footling, and spontaneous inquiry, and I reckon the adventure would mostly go okay.

Thinking about it, you would have to lock the primary kid in a box and put a bag on their head to prevent them actively inquiring about the world or soaking up all their knowledge like a sponge.

It's difficult to go wrong with primary. Give them the freedom to explore, together with the support they get from their own home, and everyone's happy. You don't have to be bullied into spending squillions on lessons, certifications, CRB-checked tutors or school-based curriculums; you can bring these in as the child wants and simply drop them when it's no longer working. Getting off grid, away from the treadmill and the timetable, is part of the active process of learning.

But secondary home ed? Of course I'm nervous, all over again, but in a different way.

This time I'm worrying over GCSEs and qualifications while the little Grits confidently assert they are going to universities A, B and C with ne'er a thought to the interviewing or selection process. Shark, Tiger and Squirrel are beginning to fall into that way home ed kids have - the one which I suspect attracts the label weird - but it is the manner called confidence. They look at the world with a level eye knowing what they want to do and where they want to do it. Let's hope they bring, alongside that confidence, good dollops of pragmatism and awareness of the expectations of their interviewing lecturers.

That is my brain dump, for now I am covertly casting around for workshops which map onto the school age my kids have reached. That is, no thanks to the primary workshops for sticking and gluing, chanting and colouring in. In schoolwordology, I'm open to suggestions with workshops Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. Really, they are thinner on the ground. Are you listening, you museum people? Put on a good one, and we home educators will travel to you from miles around.

The KS3 workshop we already took at the Horniman was a big disappointment, watching it descend into D'you wanna stroke a dead badger, but I have high hopes today for the KS3 workshop at Whipsnade, on Behaviourism and Animal Training. Still, I am so terrified of disappointment, that it will become D'you wanna stroke a dead badger, I don't go in, but sneak off round the park with Mich, whose brain I can pick about free resources, places to go, and cheap ways of travelling through edu-land.

Picking up the kids an hour later, I find the wandering talk we had at home really did come in handy, and the little Grit workshop approval rating was high so, if you, like me, are fearfully scouring KS3 resources while wondering what is going to become of us all, then Whipsnade is not a bad choice. And it had a great group rate for educational entry, so don't let anyone pull the wool over your eyes about the cost.

On the whole, good day, with friends old and new. I am delighted by the whole of the park on a return journey after years; I am seduced by a Wolverine (which I imagine is like a giant kitten until I find it will casually rip your face off and indifferently chew on the bones of your skull); and I am pumped up most effectively and delightfully by a couple of strong gentlemen who rescue me from my own flat tyre.

See? Whipsnade has everything. From an educational workshop...

to a Wolverine

and a delightful view to a fantasy romance.

1 comment:

Pip said...

we will be starting our home ed journey at the secondary level in september and whipsnade is not far from us so that's a great bit of info for us. thanks for sharing and i will be watching your journey with interest!