Thursday, 20 February 2014

Education is about more than......

I was involved in a conversation about education on a friend's Facebook status last week and one of the comments was "education is about more than building dens out of boxes" or words to that effect. It's really got me thinking about what education means to me as an educator. 

I'm going to complete that sentence again using just a few of the things we have been doing this week so far. 

Education is about more than.......
 -Learning that Mozart wrote the tune Twinkle Twinkle and then learning to play it on the piano
 -Learning how to make white sauce
 -Building a den
 -Playing on Minecraft and learning to code, make friends with home educators all around the world     and creating amazing things using team work
 -Dictation of sacred hymns
 -Playing with friends who normally attend school as it's half term
 -Making a vegan lasagna from scratch and without using a recipe
 -Creating wooden spears at Longleat
 -Reading books
 -Learning about maps
 -Making pictures
 -Blowing eggs and then decorating the shells
Education is about so much more than all of those things individually, education is about all of those things collectively. It's about broadening horizons, trying something new, learning a concept because it's interesting at that moment. It's about more than school, more than home, more than books and museums and being with other people. It's about living. 

"There is no difference between living and learning.... It is impossible and misleading and harmful to think of them as being separate" - John Holt

Home education is hard work. In no way is it the easy option. My house is noisy and messy and I'm exhausted all of the time. It's frustrating when it goes wrong and my plans don't work. It's a trial when for whatever reason, family relationships are not as harmonious as they should be. But, home education is about living, about education and about so much more!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Term time holidays

One of the great things about home educating is the freedom. We can go where we like, when we like, often for a lot less money that families who choose to send their children to school. We gat discounts all over the place and definitely take advantage of cheaper holidays.

I'm reading so much lately about term time holidays and the changes that the Government have made regarding authorised absences. Head teachers are no longer able to authorise an absence except in exceptional circumstances. This does not include any holiday of any description.

I'm a big believer in travel being the best form of education. I love travel and have travelled extensively. All my children have been abroad as well as on many UK based travel trips. We love to holiday, whether for a week in the sun or a few days to visit some museums somewhere. I truly feel that they learn more when they're away, than they ever could from reading books about places and as a home ed family, we have so many more opportunities.

When George 1 was in school, I took him on at least 3 term time holidays, all of which we're authorised. I'd certainly feel frustrated now by the new rules and I understand the frustration that parents feel. August isn't a great month for going anywhere and the prices are ridiculous. However, I also feel strongly that while the rules may seem unfair, if a child is in school, the rules need to be kept. When you take a job, you can't just go off on holiday whenever you feel like it. If you did you'd risk losing pay or even your job. If you speed long a road and get caught by a camera, you pay the fine, there's no pint moaning about it. If you take your child on holiday, you risk being fined and you need to take that into consideration.

I'd never tell anyone not to go on a term time holiday, but complaining about the consequences is pointless. Sign petitions if you will, I have, but if children are in school, it must be accepted that the Government completely controls your lives during those 6/7 week terms between the hours of 9 and 3 (or is it soon to be 8 and 6?)