Monday, 30 June 2014

It's been two months since my last blog entry. So, having moved house and settled in, blogging recommences today! 

Today. What does today look like for us?

L is at her monthly art school session; loosely guided, creating with a wonderfully encouraging professional artist, alongside some of her amazingly artistic friends, in a country art studio that is so stimulating and inspiring. Later we will have the joy of attending a Young Musicians concert, where she will be playing with the children's string group she is in.

J is working on his maths programme which he finds stimulating and challenging. He will also be making progress with the computer programming section of Khan Academy he is following. He's also attempting to start planning out the topic he wants to study in the Autumn. Not, to forget reading; Sherlock Holmes. There's also piano practice and musical theory.

Me? I am sat in a rather nice cafe overlooking a beautiful lake; thinking, planning, reflecting, writing, reading, whilst L is at the art studio. 

A month ago we decided to try out an approach to our home educating that is new to us: following a curriculum. I completed the "parent training" to learn about the curriculum and how to best follow it and we got the recommended "study areas" set up for both of the children. We were all rather excited! It sounded so easy and hassle-free. Open your box file each morning and all your "school work" is there, ready for you to use. Maths, grammar, science, social studies, word building and literature. We know loads of children who thrive, develop and learn really well using the curriculum.

The first couple of days went well. Quiet, almost silent studying. Self-marking and targets to reach. We still saw loads of friends and went to our usual groups.

But by the end of the first week, I realised some changes had happened. Less smiles, less laughter, more tiredness, more lethargy, very limited time to share books together. Most alarmingly, less motivation. There was no complaining, but the atmosphere of learning had changed. Less living and loving life.

During the second week, we all talked about it and continued for a few more days. We reassessed our reasons for home educating. To have spontaneity, freedom, flexibility, outside learning, exploration, questioning, self-motivation, creativity, emphasis on natural interests and passions. The curriculum was working against the majority of these. Our children have thrived, developed and learnt so much over the past 2+ years of home educating in a semi-structured child-led way, why change it?  So we've put away the curriculum and we're now back on track! 

We're learning again in a way which suits our family and our children. Children are like sponges; they soak up so much. A curriculum does suit many families, but not us at the moment. That's one of the beauties of home educating: you can change what you're doing at any time. You can choose to use whatever method suits you own individual children and lifestyle.

Our motivated, excited, happy learners quickly returned! They've been busy thinking and suggesting different areas of learning they want to explore: the history and geology of Minecraft, dancing around the world, the British political system, justice, the first and second world wars, animation techniques, the sky..........we're going to be busy!

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