Monday, 27 June 2016

Unready at 4, Ready at 7

Though my eldest son had early years education in nursery schools both here and in Turkey, in common with many other countries, formal schooling does not begin there until age 6, and our son didn't really start formal schooling until he went into Year 2 in this country, aged almost 7. I am so grateful he was not pushed to read and write earlier, though he had the rich experience of living in another culture and learning another language, challenges of a different kind.

"Unready at 4, Ready at 7" is an interesting blog post from a parent who battled to defer her young son's school start. "When we filled in our little boy’s school form in December 2012, he showed no signs of wanting to read or write, but we assumed it would come. The nursery assured us he would be ready by August. However, as summer arrived and he was actively resisting any efforts to put pen to paper, we became increasingly concerned."

In this country, children are not legally required to be in education until the term after their 5th birthday, and parents can delay a school start further by choosing to home educate.

Friday, 10 June 2016

We cannot continue to apply adult amounts of pressure on young people and expect them to cope

"A child or adolescent’s brain is not the same as an adult’s brain – it is not fully formed and is at a crucial development stage. Children and young people ... need to feel safe. They need to feel nurtured and valued. They need to have a creative outlet to express their emotions in a positive way. They need time and space to think to be able to play."

Read the full article from The Times Educational Supplement (TES) here.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Consuming to Creating .... Example

I recently had the privilege of leading a workshop on Mentoring Self-Directed Learners at the "Learn Free" annual conference hosted by Christian Home Educators, Warwickshire. "Learn Free: Home Educating with boldness and freedom" is a powerful message for so many families living and parenting under the pressures imposed by our current education system. It was great to be amongst so many already home educating and those considering this alternative educational pathway. The message of joy and liberty was an encouragement and inspiration to many, including me. Sometimes I forget the freedom we enjoy in this country, a freedom we can so easily take for granted.

In my workshop, I talked about moving from a family culture of consuming to creating. Last week, there was a brilliant example of this happening in our house which I thought I would share.

The boys kicked a football through the back of their guinea pig hutch, which they patched up with a panel of wood. However, the next time they moved the hutch, the bottom fell out - rendering it pretty much useless. Now guinea pig hutches are not cheap and we have bought a few over the years which haven't lasted that well at all - considering the price. So, pointing this out, my older boys suggested that they would be far better making their own hutch this time around out of all the pieces of wood my eldest son has accumulated in our garden, mostly old pallets. So they set to work.

They dismantled the old hutch so that parts of it - the wire, the roof, the latches etc - could be re-used, and they took pallets apart to construct the main part of the hutch. After school, the boys next door came and joined in too, so we had a great bit of teamwork going on - as well as a whole lot of innovation and creativity. Here are some pictures of the process and resulting hutch. We'll see how long it lasts, but it's saved us a few pounds for the time being ....

And if you think your kids are unlikely to do this kind of work with wood and nails and tools, well, can you see the camera my eldest son is using in the second picture above? He currently films everything for his vlog on his youtube channel, which he edits and uploads daily. This, too, is an example of creating rather than consuming and he is practising and developing many technical skills in the process. If you'd like a look, follow this link.

Be on the lookout for your children bucking the trend of consumerism and becoming creators!