Sunday, 21 April 2013

Learning to walk and Walking to Learn!

Rural life in better weather
Walking in the rain, on road surfaces in a hi viz jacket is not my idea of a walk in the Lake district but that's what I've been doing today as I train for the National Autistic Society C2B team. I planted an image of  "Death by Chocolate" and a cup of steaming coffee firmly in my mind and got my head down. It was too wet even to take photos so I savoured the Wood anenomes (which remained unfurled today because of the rain) , the view of Standing Tarn, the funny shack in the woods and wonderful place names like Dimple hole lane (in fact just looking up the name led me to this brilliant website on local walks and I reluctantly decided I would just have to return when the sun was shining to take my pictures!
The C2B is now only 20 days away and I was surprised not to meet more people.Throughout the duration of my 12 mile walk I came across 5 walkers! I've learned a lot throughout the last 4 months. It'd been a long while since I'd really walked for pleasure. For years, school commitments and after school activities got in the way of 'me time' . then we had hospital appointments, statement reviews, autism meetings and finally a diagnosis of Aspergers .With that came anxieties and reluctance to leave the house and, for a few months, a resistance to letting me leave either.
Walking has finally given me some freedom, freedom to be me, to revel in the countryside where I'm happiest, watching the birds, learning about the flowers, people watching,  meeting and talking to interesting people ( the best teachers in the world for home educated kids) and time to take my photographs.
I am being home educated just as much as my son. It took me a long time to realise that if we open our eyes and minds we will always learn. I am constantly noticing, buildings, plants, animals or place names and having to come home and google them because I'm inquisitive to find out more. 
Walking has made me fitter too! Not for me gyms and swimming pools. I enjoy the isolation of walking alone and being at one with the world.
My friend completed the London Marathon today. It was a fantastic achievement and it made my little 12 miler seem insignificant until I realised I have never walked 12 miles before in my life , never, ever, ever, ever. My achievement was in fact every bit as great as hers because at the ripe old age of 50 I had achieved something new!
That's why home education is so empowering, it's why Michael Gove is wrong when he says that the school day should be longer and holidays should be shorter. It's because learning actually takes place mostly at home not in school as he seems to believe.It's a question of mind set. If you keep an open mind you will always continue to learn. If you have your mind 'closed' by school then when you come home you won't want to learn anything that seems remotely educational. It's probably why so many 'educational books' remain pristine and end up untouched in the charity shops!
Anyway having whiled away 12 miles mulling over life, politics and pschology I finished my walk and sat quietly for a moment with my chocolate cake and black coffee among the ruins of Furness Abbey and realised how lucky I am!

No comments:

Post a Comment