We discussed how the world might look if subjected to a nuclear attack- the vast wasteland, I explained, would be barren and desolate. Desolation could also mean 'alone' and 'sad'.That made more sense to my son in the context he had read it. I suggested that the word must have been derived from the French word desole (sorry) and quite possibly came from a latin word before that. 'Or perhaps it derives from the Germanic language' piped up my thirteen year old son.
All this took place in my car whilst parked in a local car park eating our weekly KFC and it's a typical example of how learning takes place in our home.
It started me thinking about how we each learn.There are five of us,Mum (me) Dad, Eldest son (just turned 17),Twins (one of each aged 13).My daughter is in main stream secondary and her twin who has a diagnosis of Aspergers is home educated. We are all very different.
I was the classic academic student at school, went to university, got a law degree then worked as a lawyer for 25 years before giving up to home educate my Autistic son. I have changed my views on the education drastically but in a very liberating way since having my three children.
My husband on the other hand went down the college route to university, got his degree in Engineering and worked for a time in engineering before switching to the fire service at 26. He has just retired and has set up his own fire risk assessment business (again I think due to his changing perception of what education is truly about and his confidence in his ability to learn throughout life)
My eldest son decided against university. He wanted to get his hands dirty and engage in 'real life' ,as he put it. He has just left school at sixteen,has secured an apprenticeship with our local council doing motor vehicle maintenance (his passion) and day release in a local college one day a week. At the moment he is focussed on a career in motor sport but who knows, that may change as he learns and gains experience in other fields, His ongoing education is therefore currently linked to his passion for cars.He spent the weekend watching a local rally through Grizedale forest and, as of last week is learning to drive. His motivation and enthusiasm is infectious.
My daughter's passion is dance.This week has been packed with practices for a performance on Friday. At thirteen she is looking ahead at how she can expand her experience. Just.like her brother she has developed a confident 'can do ' attitude,being ready to grasp every opportunity with both hands. I meanwhile run the taxi service.
My youngest son is very different,partly because he is Autistic, and partly because he just 'is'.
He is in many ways, self taught.He thinks outside the box and sees the details. Things the rest of us miss,like where a jigsaw piece should fit or where there is a glitch in continuity in a film- the detail in fact. He has the single mindedness to keep working on a job that matters to him until he has perfected it.He doesn't give up and he focuses on the job.
And me- well I'm continually learning all the time too.Learning how to perfect my craft of writing, learning better music technique with my choir and learning how to motivate people to get on and do things for themselves rather than rely on government to provide them with the help and funding they so desperately need.
Home education it seems has opened my eyes and given me a lot to be thankful for!