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!