Saturday, 10 March 2012

The Learning Curve

When we embarked on home education with my youngest son it quickly became apparent that everyone has their optimum time for learning. For me it has always been early in the morning but for my son it's late into the evening. At first I worried that he didn't surface until ten in the morning, didn't eat breakfast (didn't the experts say it was essential to achieve learning potential)and often sat in his pyjamas wrapped up in a duvet whilst playing or watching tv. It went against everything I'd been taught about school. Gradually I learned we weren't at school. It didn't matter if you weren't sitting at your desk by 9.00am, what mattered was the quality of learning and that information was absorbed and understood.This seems to be born out by new scientific evidence about teenagers who generally are more receptive to learning later in the morning because their body clocks are changing Not only do we not need to be learning from 9.00am until 3.30pm Monday to Friday we can learn whatever day of the week it is. Take today for example, firstly it's a Saturday, not a normal school day. I was up early as my daughter and I are involved in a community choir and orchestra. One of the weaknesses of my daughter's school is that it doesn't have a strong music department so we found our own. Whilst my daughter practised with her orchestra for a concert I popped into town and bought three books from the charity shop. Total cost 60p! The book for my son was a Lisa Simpson book. Not exactly a school text book but he spent half an hour in the car reading. I know now that all reading is valuable, you just have to tap into your children's interests and if that happens to be the Simpson's it really doesn't matter all reading is beneficial. In fact if you study the Simpsons carefully you will soon discover there is more educational value in those programmes than you think. We have talked about the classical music on some of the programmes, learned it takes 9 months to animate an episode and that's just for starters! After orchestra and choir my daughter and her friend went for their first ever. independent shopping session without an adult. Such an apparently small incident helped give them confidence, taught them to budget and look for bargains and gave them a much needed freedom which in more populated area of Britain they wouldn't get for a few years yet. Every new experience teaches something. At first glance it may seem immaterial but like a jigsaw the small pieces build up to form the bigger picture.

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