Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Signs of Spring, De-schooling and EXHAUSTION!!!!!

So far this week, due to the glorious weather, we have been outdoors a great deal! Jacob has enjoyed looking for signs of spring while we were out and about. He has also become an expert at using the camera feature on my phone in order to record his findings! The picture above is his handy work!
We visited Eastrop Park (a local park with lots of space to run, climb, paddle and play) here are some photo's of our fun.

Jacob has been, until now, in 'formal' school for about 18 months and I am amazed at the effect it's had already shaping his view of what learning is. He is very conditioned to the set routines of Literacy sessions (with phonics, then shared reading, then writing) and Numeracy sessions. He expects a designated 'outdoor playtime', set lunchtime and to be told what to do during most activities. Don't get me wrong I'm happy that he  liked the routine of school and that he picked it up quickly in order to feel settled in the school environment. But it is shocking that children think this prescriptive and dictated way is how they learn. As a result we have decided to take some time 'de-schooling'. "Deschooling" simply means taking some time off from formal academics when you begin homeschooling a child who has been in traditional school- a great definition from Dianne Brooks over at http://www.homeschooloasis.com.

I want Jacob to realise the beauty of learning at his own pace, using all of his senses, in many different environments, through a variety of fun and often 'unplanned' activities. I'd like him to feel at ease playing with his toys all day with no sense of time or constraint. Just doing an activity because its fun rather than because it is part of the 'topic'. So my goal for the next few weeks is too 'Stop thinking schoolishly. Stop acting teacherishly. Stop talking about learning as though it’s separate from life'- from Sandra Dodd at www.sandradodd.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge"
-Albert Einstein

However, 'de-schooling' is EXHAUSTING!!!! 

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Merry Spring Equinox!

Today is the Spring Equinox, meaning there are the same amount of light hours as dark hours in a 24 hour period. Jacob was very interested in finding out more when I asked him if he had any ideas as to what 'Spring Equinox' may mean!
Thanks to a fab idea from my friend Taira Maculey over at Magical Days (a great blog sharing the wonders of life as a home ed mum of 4) I used a wonderfully visual way of explaining the equinox to Jacob.
                                                        Melted chocolate is just so tempting!
                                             Jacob carefully spreads chocolate over half the biscuit
                                          Equinox biscuits! Half covered in chocolate (the dark hours)
                                          and half plain (the light hours)

We had a wonderful afternoon making a poster to show the daylight hours and the 'dark' night hours.

I have spent the last couple of days ordering equipment and books from Ebay, Amazon and Myriad! Jacob waits with such anticipation for the 'posty', knowing it will be another item to add to the shelves in his new 'school room'! We have transformed our conservatory area, previously a dumping ground, into a beautiful space to store the resources and equipment for home education. Jacob named this new space his 'school room'. He enjoys exploring the new 'toys' such as wooden animals (from Myriad online) and a jar of buttons (from Hobbycraft).
I am currently reading 'A Charlotte Mason Companion- personal reflections on the gentle art of learning' by Karen Andreola. It is an inspiring book about using the 'Charlotte Mason' method of home educating. This is a method in which I am very interested. Over the next few weeks I will attempt to share my understanding and findings on this blog!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

In The Beginning.......

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” 
― Aristotle

Why? ........... Why home educate?........ Why be at home all day with your child?....... Why risk your child's future?......... Why do you think you know best? ...........  Why are you doing this?..... WHY? WHY?

So many 'why's' were asked in the beginning by us as parents, our family, our friends, the school, the wider community. And my simple answer is 'just because'. Seems almost facetious , but after much thought (believe me much thought) it was the simplest answer! We, as parents knew what we wanted our child's education to look like and we knew how we wanted our child to experience the world and his childhood. We decided that only we could provide this, only we as parents knew our child well enough, loved them enough, had dreams for them, to provide the type of life and education they needed. Time will not be wasted on my blog discussing the ins and outs of the current British education system. For us it was not enough. The 'National Curriculum' is one curriculum out of 1000's that have been published and are available. We decided our child deserved a more rounded and balanced education, taking into consideration his emotional and social needs as well as his academic needs! We wanted our child to be celebrated for all of his talents, to recognise his actions have consequences on the world he lives in and to develop an interest in his own learning that gives him autonomy to aquire skills at a pace that suits him.
Jacob, this is your story...........