Wednesday, 23 April 2014

After easter

I suppose it is time again. Another bleedin' home ed round-up.

Kid brain state of play? I have no idea.

There, the LA can wave hands in proper despair, denied the monitoring of what is going on in Squirrel's cranium.

All I can say is, from my point of view, an education is aimed at, and in some cases, provided. I mean, these kids are teenagers. How much can you expect from the soul-sucking experience that is interacting with a teenager over the breakfast table?

But here then, never down-hearted, are the present aims of my gritty provision.

1. Create, in Shark, Squirrel and Tiger, the characters of active, concerned citizens. (Synonymous: be a right nosy parker and a general pain in the arse.)

To this admirable end, I took Squirrel, Tiger, and Shark to a sub-sub-committee meeting for the working group of the town council, convened to discuss the sale of charity assets and funds management of the local arts charity (status: pffft).

Yes, I took the juniors to watch, reasoning how Shark, Tiger and Squirrel need to observe engagement in local politics by adults with very little visible humour (and much less passion), reach conclusions that are virtually ineffective.

After the offspring watched the slow turn of democracy (at the weathering rate of a pre-cambrian rockface), I insisted everyone consider the relative advantages and disadvantages of direct action. Specifically, the dead-fish-through-the-letterbox procedure. (Shark voted me down.)

2. Create all-rounded human types.

I do this via Shakespeare. Now just feel free to breathe a big sigh of relief that you're not a member of my family. King Lear at the National; a workshop on Much Ado at the local park; a quick trip to the RSC for Henry IV Part 1. Tick humanity.

3. Create people who can stand on their own two feet.

I take them rambling. Interestingly, I do not have trouble levering the gritties out of bed for walkies with the Ramblers. (Please forgive necessary self-congratulation as I look back on years of being eyeball-deep in ditches and cow shit.)

It is all good. And we learn much about the other world that is, in my frank opinion, bad. As in, the gritties juniors recently met a newly schooled-chum; she complained the girls at school talked nail varnish. The girls who climbed trees were home educated. (We are now using the phrase 'gone to the woods' as meaning lost to the nail varnished society.)

4. Create people who know stuff.

Take from this what you will, but round here it means read The Importance of Being Ernest, tackle the general problem of recycling computer waste, narrate how to drive a car (thanks to the Under-17 Car Club), watch past episodes of Frasier, and institute a chip-shop-tea-rota under the guise of supporting local businesses (when in reality mama is off with her Knicker Drawers and cannot be bothered).

You could also add, swotting for a couple of IGCSE exams.

5. Create people who are capable of being independently employed, able to adventurously embark on quirky, creative projects demanding all the skills of their 3Rs, to wit: Resourcefulness, Responsibility, and Respect.

Work in progress. Watching mama emerge from the back room clutching a Knicker Drawer creation is, I'm claiming, a good model to copy.

6. Create courteous, sociable, generous, and kind young ladies.

Capable of talking to anyone.

There. Done. Yay me. I am fulfilling my statutory duty to provide a suitable education otherwise than by attendance at school. As required by the (1996) Education Act (section seven).

Thankfully, the law does not require the LA to assess the quality of the provision. Nor does the law require the LA to insist particular subjects are covered in any particular methodical way.

If it did, I'd be stuffed.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Control their playtime

I had to come away and be sick.

Wilshaw praising the nursery where 'playing was well directed'. Part of that campaign to get your child into structured learning from age 2.

Parents, remember. To learn properly, structure your child's play. There must be a point to play. Do not let your child's play ramble on about unicorns and willow trees or bring in senseless nonsense like ham sandwiches. Get involved in your child's play. Stop it from being dangerously out of your control. Make it go in the direction where there is a teaching point to be made.

I have just one question about this process. When you have followed government wisdom to direct your toddler's play, made all their day your property, told them what to repeat in their exams, and ordered them to follow this educational step-by-step guide without deviation, how do you expect your child to become a creative thinker?

Fortunately, there's enough of us out here making an alternative. Find out where we meet and take along your toddler to get involved.