Thursday, 6 February 2014

A Family Affair

Yesterday evening my husband went out to the garage to saw a coconut in half whilst my daughter sat at the kitchen table whittling sticks from the garden into skewers.As I watched them I marvelled at how our home life has changed for the better since we began home educating my autistic son.

We are all now involved together in education and it's good fun. This particular evening we were helping my daughter prepare for her school Master Chef competition. Her challenge was to choose a celebrity and cook a meal for them.My daughter had opted for her favourite heroine Katness from "The Hunger Games" and we had much debate about the type of foods she might eat. As a hunter we decided she would be used to foraging for food and cooking on camp fires (hence the skewers). The coconuts were to be scooped out as bowls for rice and the skewers would be spiked with chicken, peppers, onions and mushrooms. Desert was to be a chocolate bombe. A sudden surprise oozing chocolate when you cut into it, a bit like one of Katness' weapons to kill her enemy.

It was lovely to see the huge smile on my daughter's face today when she came home to say that the judges had awarded her one point less than the total amount of available marks, for taste, presentation and creativity (the kebabs were served on a slate dish to represent stone and the chocolate bombes in small red dishes on a square black plate and dusted with icing sugar and a small orange fruit from Columbia called a Physalis). It made me realise how differently we think about education since my eldest started school twelve years ago. This wasn't about winning, or competition. It was about having fun and that's just what we did.

We sampled the inside of a coconut, tasted a new fruit,scooped the coconut out for the birds, and looked at pictures of foods for foraging , and ways to present it. 

Homework is no longer the burden it was me when I was working in a pressurised job and rushing into the house to be confronted by a fractious child , needing help whilst I was trying to make tea as we had to dash out  for choir or scouts. Neither do I blame the teachers for subjecting my children to irrelevant and uninteresting subjects. They are doing their best with the curriculum they've been given.

What we are trying to do though is to show our children that learning is what they make of it.The can be constricted by the restrictions of the curriculum or can learn from life experience and see how the subjects they are learning at school fit in with those experiences.

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