Someone commented on a post suggesting that this would be a good way of summerising our approach to home education, I have to say I agree. I was also reminded how much I love the quote so knocked up the above for AV’s Facebook page hence the link.
I sometimes think I would love to have children I could home ed autonomously/child led but in reality I am planner with a penchant for spreadsheets.
Child-led v’s Adult organised
I see my job as educator really as a facilitator.
I lead them to water and try and tempt them to drink. I can’t force them to learn but it is my job to find subject matter and materials and approaches that encourage them to engage.
If they have a rush of blood and suddenly charge off to a different pool, then I will follow them and try and ensure that pool is topped up as long as they are want to drink there. In other words although I plan and structure I believe in being flexible and changing tack and going with and nurturing their interests. If the child will lead I will follow.
The biggest challenge I have is recognising when a child is sated from one pool and guiding them on rather than letting them potter aimlessly at the pool edge or trying to push them into draining it dry.
Structure v’s Autonomous
There is a very real difference I feel between being structured with a timetable, goals for when work needs to be finished etc and having a routine.
Structure in the sense outlined above for us leads to a focus on the goals rather than the journey. Sam isn’t particularly academic/goal focused and we need to just enjoy the journey and absorb what we can from it.
However, I do believe somethings need to be ‘taught’ and it is necessary to cover the basics. So we do need a routine or we do just drift and the mood and behaviour of everyone suffers.
To balance between these the plan is to have a pencilled in routine with subjects allocated to days/times but no targets of when parts of books must be completed by. Therefore we have the flexibility to go out whenevery we want, if we are enjoying something we can carry on with it without worrying about getting behind. If it takes 18 months to do a years curriculum it doesn’t matter as there will be lots learned that I don’t plan for.
Recording Learning/Subject Matter
We have no need to have a folder of work to show and the act of writing stuff doesn’t help with his recall, it hinders it as the writing becomes an issue. Therefore we will separate writing as a skill from other learning and work verbally as far as possible, aiming to blog regularly as a record.
Having focused very much on basic literacy and numeracy in the early years with everything else being largely interest led, the aim is to introduce a bit of structure to other subject areas so we have a very broad curriculum base. The aim is cover besides numeracy and literacy, world and British History, physical and British Geography, science, Latin, Spanish, logic, nature studies, art and music appreciation.
This remains very flexible and adaptable. The amount of ‘lesson’ time very much varies with the seasons.
If I was to characterise our style it is broadly a secular take on Charlotte Mason.
- Lots of time outdoors
- Short lessons
- Learning through ‘good’ (still not sure what constitutes ‘living’) books
- Narration as a method for checking understanding
- Helping a child develop and learn good moral and practical habits