Power House

My husband doesn't work on a Tuesday, so was fortunate enough to take the boys on a home educators' trip to Ironbridge Power Station. He writes:

"Children had a go at turning things, pressing things and playing with the equipment in the education centre at the power station. Then we were given a talk about the history of electricity - from its discovery way back in time to how Michael Faraday was able to harness the power of magnets to produce electricity. The engineer then talked about the processes involved in the coal powered station from the import of low sulphur coal from Russia to the supply of electricity to the national grid.

The cooling towers that we can see at a distance may seem quite ugly and uninteresting, but when you are at the power station the sheer scale of the place grabs your interest. The boys could have learnt these things at school but by the next day they would have forgotten. Instead, the trip created the experience needed to have an interest in electromagnetism. Coincidently but not unusually, my eldest son and I had read about Michael Faraday recently. It is often surprising how things come together in home education in ways you could not have planned for. Our reading was no doubt reinforced by actually doing the same experiment Faraday did, and seeing the practical application of this on a huge scale.

You could learn all about power stations in the classroom, or from books - but how much better to have actually seen all this! All I can say is I look forward to more trips like this!"

One of our objectives in home education is for our boys to see different people at work in different environments, and thus to understand the range of work opportunities open to them in the future, and to stir their interest. In primary schools, most children see mostly women teachers - We want our boys to see many different people working in many different jobs, and to understand what those different roles may entail. We believe this will enable them to discover what they truly want to do in the future, and to make good choices - rather than drifting through the school system unsure of where they are headed. Today's trip exposed them to a very different working environment and to a particular type of engineering opportunity. Conversation this evening has focussed on energy sources, oil supplies and renewable energy for the future.