Thursday, 20 April 2017

Science without school

From the networks:
''The issue of autodidactism, autonomous and self-organized learning is becoming more prevalent, and we see that it goes beyond homeschooling, unschooling and education without school, starting to be present in university or job selection processes for different companies.

In the National University of Colombia, supported by the Faculty of Human Sciences, we have done in previous years different events around this theme: International Congresses in the years: 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2014 and five semester courses on Education without School among the Years 2011 and 2014. We were also part of the organizing team of the International Week of Alternative Education in 2015.

In addition, with the EnFamilia Network, through the accompaniment we have given to many families throughout the country in their process of deschooling, we have experienced and verified the capacities of children, youth and adults to learn in a self-organized way all types of knowledge and skills of different fields and levels of difficulty.

At the moment, we are also organizing a course at the National University of Colombia, this time working as a team with the Faculty of Engineering, in which we want to approach the processes of self-organization of learning in the fields of science, technology and engineering. We seek to show and analyze how, in a self-organized way and without schooling, we can acquire knowledge of university level or necessary in the professional and career world.
In this course we want to show, analyze and discuss testimonies of people who have lived and experienced this way of learning, contrasting them with more theoretical investigations or foundations on the subject.

That's why we write this message, to know if you have information about self-organization of learning in the sciences, technology or engineering that can share with us; could be books, research, articles, audiovisual material, documented experiences, etc. All this will help us to show how this phenomenon is current and growing not only in Colombia, but in other places of the world.

We thank you in advance for your cooperation.''
Contact: Coordinator of the research-action Project about Homeschooling-Unschooling, National University of Colombia.
Also see:  www.enfamilia.co

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Success! (Nearly)

By the turn of the fifth page of her sketchbook, Tiger is accepted on interview into college to study Art, Art, and More Art.

She doesn't have the Art GCSE, but it doesn't stop her taking the A Level, so take this as evidence that home ed kids can footle around with this'n'that and still be happy achieving what they want.

Actually, Tiger is only partly happy.

For a start, she does not seem able to believe that someone just said 'This is your offer if you want the place. Go home and fill in the Application Form.'

Nooooo. There's a catch, right? This is like someone wheels a barrow to your door filled with sweet fresh pineapple, perfect ripe mangos, juicy grapes and finger bananas. Free. You squeal No! There's a bag of sour lemons here! I've only got to find them! Then off you go, tossing the ripe fruit to the floor until you find the manky lemon. The one that sits there, in your imagination, stinking mouldy green.

For another thing, Tiger actually wants to go to Cambridge and study their Old Norse, Anglo Saxon, and Medieval Welsh. That ambition started when she taught herself Anglo Saxon, with the aid of half a dozen books and the ever-fragrant Mr Sweet.

Certainly, she's taking a long way round on her route to Cambridge. Mostly by indulging herself in Art, completing her Latin A Level at home, taking A level language as a private candidate, and planning an A Level in Geography in her non-scheduled time.

She is possibly a bit bonkers. At which the family chant, All the best people are.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Shy smile

I made a 7-year old smile. This was delightful to me. I gave her our Wombat (stuffed, not live), and she gave me a wide-eyed, shy smile, spreading slowly into delight. I felt that Wombat had found a good home. I hope that when she got home, after Wombat had been so safely tucked under her arm, Mama did not hoist him into the skip. (It would be poetic justice. He came from one.)

My first thought, was Blimey, I haven't seen a smile like that in while. Perhaps it's because my own children are aged 17.

Hmm, thinking it through, that is not quite right. One daughter is aged 17 going on 50 and is head of this family. She can knock out a mean sourdough loaf while advising you on strategy regarding finance, life goals, and assertion skills for women. I am not sure how I could induce a shy smile there. But she takes after her father.

Another, I can induce a shy smile but it must involve food, theatre tickets, or seats for live folk performances. The timing must be perfect.

The third, I could probably prompt a grin still with a bag of old rubber bands, toilet roll tubes, string, paint, and bottletops. True delight. (I may need to visit Scrapstore this very moment.)

Monday, 10 April 2017

I have no regrets in being a hippy

Because today I find out what is a 'Smash Cake'.

Madeira Sponge [Sugar, Fortified Wheat Flour, Wheat Flour, Calcium Carbonate, Iron, Niacin (B3), Thiamin (B1)], Pasteurised Whole Egg, Rapeseed Oil, Water, Humectant (Glycerol), Dried Skimmed Milk, Raising Agents (Diphosphates, Sodium Carbonates), Maize Starch, Emulsifier (Sodium Stearoyl-2-Lactylate), Dried Glucose Syrup, Preservative (Potassium Sorbate), Flavouring, Acidity Regulator (Citric Acid)] , Vanilla Flavour Frosting (29%) [Sugar, Butter (from Milk), Palm Oil, Palm Kernel Oil, Water, Rapeseed Oil, Dried Glucose Syrup, Palm Stearin, Humectant (Glycerol), Flavouring, Preservative (Potassium Sorbate), Emulsifier (Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids), Colour (Carotenes)] , White Chocolate Dome (11%) [Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Dried Whole Milk, Dried Skimmed Milk, Emulsifier (Soya Lecithins), Flavouring] , Multi Coloured Sugar Spheres (5.6%) [Sugar, Wheat Starch, Palm Oil, Coconut Oil, Water, Glucose Syrup, Colours (Curcumin, Beetroot Red, Anthocyanins), Glazing Agent (Beeswax), Emulsifier (Soya Lecithins)] , Plum and Raspberry Jam (3.8%) [Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Plums, Raspberries, Gelling Agent (Pectin), Acidity Regulators (Citric Acid, Sodium Citrates), Colour (Anthocyanins), Flavouring] , Chocolate Malt Balls (3.1%) [Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Fortified Wheat Flour [Wheat Flour, Calcium Carbonate, Iron, Niacin (B3), Thiamin (B1)], Cocoa Mass, Dried Skimmed Milk, Maize Flour, Lactose (from Milk), Whey Powder (from Milk), Anhydrous Milk Fat, Barley Malt Extract, Emulsifiers (Soya Lecithins, Triphosphates, Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids), Water, Salt, Glazing Agent (Acacia Gum), Spray Dried Palm Fat, Honey] , Dolly Mixtures (3.1%) [Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Beef Gelatine, Coconut Oil, Modified Maize Starch, Palm Oil, Acidity Regulator (Citric Acid), Fat Reduced Cocoa Powder, Flavouring, Colours (Anthocyanins, Paprika Extract, Beetroot Red, Curcumin), Apple Extract, Hibiscus Extract, Nettle Extract, Spinach Extract, Gelling Agent (Pectins)] , Multi Coloured Chocolate Nibs (3.1%) [Sugar, Cocoa Mass, Colours (Titanium Dioxide, Curcumin, Carmine), Glazing Agents (Acacia Gum, Beeswax, Carnauba Wax, Shellac), Cocoa Butter, Maize Starch, Spirulina Concentrate, Flavouring, Safflower Concentrate, Emulsifier (Soya Lecithins)] , Blue Icing Piping [Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Water, Maize Starch, Free Range Dried Egg White, Spirulina, Preservative (Potassium Sorbate), Humectant (Glycerol)] .

Home-made cake (dairy variety): butter, sugar, self-raising flour, eggs.
Slice a banana for the top.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Education is not the same as School

The language used by commenters after the Jon Platt case is utterly dispiriting.

As in, people who once had freedoms, and when those freedoms were taken from them, kindly ask the people who took those freedoms to put everyone in prison, because only that circumstance would be fair.

And neither am I hearing the voices of educational thinkers on the radio or in the media. Educational thinkers who work out ideas against the word Education. Like Paulo Freire or Ivan Illich. Thinkers. People who pose challenges to a culture, to its norms and beliefs.

We need someone thinking and shouting for sure, because all I hear now is blinkered crap. Like the assumptions I hear made are God-awful-horrible: they tell me something bad happened to the national brain.

Assumptions like 'you will never catch up', 'one day off school will have an impact'. 

Huh? It's now perfectly normal to think of education as something LINEAR that comes from a TEXT BOOK, so if you miss PAGE 42, you're in TROUBLE.

That's great for business. It's great for text book publishers too, and for teaching centres who need to plug in teachers quickly and easily along the conveyor belt it implies. 

A linear text-book based system is also very useful for examination, especially when you can have an online testing tick-box system, so expect that soon.

And it's the style of 'education' adopted by lovely child-friendly countries like China*, who slavishly force kids to slog away at text books day and night on a punishing system driven by national and international league tables.

Fortunately, it reinforces the idea that every parent must join in with this system if their child is to succeed

How I fondly recall the Hong Kong Kinder Interview Offer!* For $200 take your 2-year old to an intensive one-day course so they learn to sit up straight, write their name, and answer questions correctly. Then they can attend the real Nursery Interview Process, because the nursery school needs them reading and writing by age 4. 

Ah, Hong Kong! How the UK Loves You! Soon, we will be like you!*

This system has nothing to do with education. The politicians and members of the public who use the word education as a handy word meaning school do so because they are ignorant and unthinking. They should use the word SCHOOL, and leave the word EDUCATION out of their language.

In my life, in my reading, education raises issues such as learner autonomy, creativity, thinking for onseself, being able to play at the age of 3 in a way which is not being directed or controlled by the teacher. Education means reading material which is not under surveillance, control, marking and testing by another. It means challenging, asking difficult questions, questioning social structures, motives, economic drivers, and the language of politics. 

Education means thinking. And school means compliance.



* Sarcasm.
* More sarcasm.
* A lot of *Sarcasm.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

'A Day Off School Affects Your Child's Life Chances'

How many days have my kids missed school? Maybe 5,000. Imagine! 5,000 days my kids have been off school!

Shark still got an A* in Maths, so clearly she was disadvantaged. I'll send her off now to the park bench with a bottle of voddy.