Thursday, 23 February 2012

Signs of Spring

On an unusually warm February afternoon, a walk around the block with a camera in search of signs of spring resulted in these lovely images captured by my middle son:

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Accessing Learning

In thinking about autonomous learning in the modern world, it is easy to see how we can be motivated by a desire to learn something, access the required information or skills, and get on with it independently - whether by using books, other people who can share a skill with us, or the Internet. We have access to so many resources and learning opportunities that this is not difficult to do - for adults or for children - and it is one of the reasons I believe we will see an increase in 'home' (independent) education in the coming years.

My youngest son, just 6, reminded me of how effective this type of learning can be this week when he went to the computer announcing he wanted to learn 'Keon Kata' for his karate class. He sat himself down and typed 'Kombat Kids' (the name of his club) into Google search, then clicked on it when it came up. I helped him a little with the menu the first time - showing him the link to 'video' - which he then clicked bringing up a choice of video demonstrations. He selected the desired 'Keon Kata', then watched intently and attempted to copy the moves.

I never would have thought to look on the club website for video demonstrations, but he had obviously picked up where to access this learning, and motivated by his own desire to learn, was using his initiative. I think this is a really important skill for lifelong learning, and nurturing such initiative in the boys is one of our key objectives in home education.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Inspiration from Mary McLeod Bethune

Most mornings, the boys and I read from Dave & Neta Jackson's books of Hero Tales, which provide a thought for the day and much interesting discussion based on the life of inspirational Christian figures from history.

This week, we have learned from the life of Mary McLeod Bethune, who was born the daughter of a freedman in the southern USA in 1875. Given the opportunity to learn and progress through college, Mary wanted to give something back and start a school for black children, for whom very limited education was generally provided. Her vision for her dream school started in her mind, and grew from there to become a reality. Her vision for her school inspired me, and is described thus:

1. She'd fill it with song to express the longings of her people.
2. It would look like Scotia (the college where she had studied), with beautiful buildings and grounds.
3. It would train boys and girls to work for a living, learning all sorts of skills and trades.
4. It would give all the world's learning, including the arts and sciences.
5. It would teach the duties and privileges of citizenship.
6. It would be a living part of the community - reaching out in service, building up her people to take their rightful place as productive citizens.

"We seek to educate the head, the hands and the heart" was Mrs Bethune's educational philosophy. Amen to that!!

Face Britain

Make your face famous and join the UK's largest ever art project, Face Britain from The Prince's Foundation for Children and the Arts. If you are aged 4-16 why not create a picture of yourself using any medium - draw, paint, stitch, collage, photograph etc - and upload it on to the Face Britain online gallery. Portraits will be displayed on special BBC Big Screen sites and projected on to the front of Buckingham Palace!
Visit for further details on how to take part.

Design By Me

My eldest son has been fixated this week by Design By Me on the Lego website. Here, he can design his own virtual Lego projects. For him, this has been a great progression from playing with his Lego as he envisages what he wants to build and the way the pieces will fit and work together.