Friday, 22 February 2013

The Right Learning Environment!

I think children learn better when they learn what they want to learn when they want to learn it, and how they want to learn it, learning for their own curiosity and not at somebody else's order. I believe that learning would be greatly improved if we could completely or at least largely abolish the fixed curriculum in its present sense. I do ... ~ John Holt

Coniston Water

It's snowing in Arizona. I thought it didn't snow in deserts but the cacti are covered in snow and the golf has been postponed. Just another example of how one thing leads to another in home education. Now we will have to look up the climate of Arizona and check its position on the globe to see if it is freak weather or whether this is normal at this time of year! Talking of weather my daughter has spent the weekend asking her dad to help her make a weather vane for school. Despite a lot of chuntering about 'having enough to do’ and  children being given homework within their capabilities (can’t you just tell we hate homework), in fact, working together was a great example of home education although we would have preferred to do it in our own time and when it was relevant to the subjects my daughter was interested in!

To give an example it was  my son's parents’ evening last night and he has been creating a website. According to the teacher the website is really good and quite technical and my son who isn't academic has received a high grade for his work. I was shown the website and I smiled- he'd created a website for the motor mechanic business he intends to set up when he leaves school so of course he was interested in the subject- you would think that the government would learn something from this instead of imposing such narrow subject matter on its students!

We have also  had a productive week on the home front .My home educated autistic son seems to have been motivated by the sunshine and has been far more inclined to go out. I'm beginning to think that it's not agoraphobia I'm dealing with but anxiety when going somewhere he doesn't want to go. Whenever my son knows where he is going or wants to do something he has no hesitation in going out to the car and going out!

Take yesterday for example. It was our dentist appointment. I gave my son the choice about whether he was going. Surprisingly he got dressed but then got the wobbles and decided not to go. A few months ago he wouldn't have let me leave the house but I was allowed to take the others and we had our check-ups! When I got back to the house he opted to come up to Coniston with me to return his siblings to school and then had chips and hot chocolate in a local cafe. There were signs initially that it was hard for him in there. He picked up some leaflets and focussed hard on them so as to blank out his surroundings, but once his chips came he relaxed and I got a great big smile! What more can you ask for? Happy  children in the environment that suits them best. In his case it is definitely HOME SWEET HOME!

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