Children love taking ownership for their learning, and they love learning from one another. Recently, our eldest son volunteered to share a skill with our home education group. Three of the older girls in our group organised an art exhibition as part of an Arts Award they have been working towards. They showcased very different work ... One, a display of items made from recycled rubbish, another, an exhibition of her items hand-made using a sewing machine, the third, theatrical make-up. They opened the hall to the public and served cups of tea and home made cakes. Our son showed his movie-making and computer animation skills. The group watched with interest. Later in the session, one older girl wanted to learn a bit more from him and they sat together for half an hour working on a Lego animation. I watched and thought, "How wonderful!" Here were two young people who, in schooled circumstances, simply would not meet, and certainly wouldn't associate with one another. She is a few years older than him, and a girl! Yet she was interested in what he was doing, and in these circumstances, was able to sit alongside and learn a new skill from this younger boy. The whole session was a good example of community learning, almost a realisation of my vision for 'learning hubs' where people of different ages can come together to learn and to share skills with one another.
I wondered what the boys made of the session, and they were so enthusiastic about it that sons 2 and 3 put themselves forward to share a skill at a later session. That session was last week. Our eldest followed up with another movie-making workshop. This time, in addition to demonstrating how to use Windows Movie Maker, he got the children to organise a swift interpretation of The Three Little Pigs, which he directed, filmed and then edited during the rest of the session to show at the end. Meanwhile, our 7-year-old showed his 3D puzzles and talked about drawing in perspective. He showed how to draw in the horizon and vanishing point and how to draw 3D blocks and elipses. The children then all had a go at drawing the buildings the puzzles depict. Son number 2 didn't have much time in the end, but gave a musical demonstration on electric guitar and dhol drum. He then gave all the children instruments (harmonicas, recorders, shakers, drums ...) and they had a little jamming session which he recorded using his tablet. They thought this was a very successful session; I think they felt empowered.