Well here we are well into a new year and our approach to Home Education is becoming clearer in our minds. We are firmly stearing towards the Autonomous Education or Natural Learning with a strong Christian slant. Autonomous could be described as ‘doing it their way’ – not a total mayhem as you might at first think.
We have found that our children are learning and retaining the most useful information when they are doing things that interest them at their level of understanding. For instance when one of them is in a reading ‘mood’ then that moment is the best time to develop that interest and spend one to one quality time reading and selecting an educational reading book that is of interest to them. Nothing forced – no pressure, seems to be giving the best results.
Hence we have spent far more time doing practical things and adding in Maths and English as we go along into the subject – for example measuring or counting or adding up money related to the project we are doing at that moment.
The Christian side is that we are taking them regularly to Church where they are forming strong friendships with other young children they see each week and also forming solid friendships with older Church members.
They have a special children’s programme for part of the service so again suitable to their age and aptitudes. We feel that the age range mix is very important socially and more realistic to life experiences than the usual mono-social age specific relationships seen in a standard school classroom. Our children are well known locally to be confident and open to talk to other community members, neighbours and school friends who they are keeping in contact with on a regular basis. They are always polite and talkative if a little on the energetic side but that is their way.
We also visited with a group of young home educators in Wiltshire for a day which proved very positive and allowed them to mix with other children they weren’t familiar with.
We are continuing to go to centres, museums and other days out as we find they learn at lot in a short time on these visits. Television / DVDs primarily animal prgrammes, health / hospital / vet programmes and cookery programmes / Adventist Christian satellite programmes continue to be used as a talking point for many long discussions. Again reinforcing real life examples and other cultures way of living.
As an example of how they learn whilst watching TV, during one wildlife programme looking at tropical forest big cats, Madagascar was mentioned by the presenter to which Rebekah (5 yrs) remarked “Mummy that’s the big island next to Africa isn’t it?” She had picked this up from her regular unprompted studying from the wall chart maps on our kitchen walls. This is what we mean by Autonomous Education or Natural Learning. TV time is not a large part of their day as there is so much else going on in a large family.
As a result of following a less structured apporach we are only adding significant notes and lots of pictures to this online record and no longer adding a detailed summary here every day. This is not to say that the other things are not still happening but rather it might make a more interesting read to see what is new rather than what is the same.