Thursday, 15 January 2015

We don't need no Education.Teachers leave those kids alone!

I've been reading Free to Learn .It's a book about unschooling which often works well with oppositional Autistic children. It explained that you have to  turn your ideas of 'education' on their head and give back control to your child.It certainly worked for us.

So when my daughter (who is in mainstream school) tells me that some of the pupils in her year were not allowed to do "COPE" as an option because the powers that be think "they are too clever", or that the government are going to put an end to the ELBS. (Land based science to you and me) or that they won't be doing GCSE. P.E . at school after the current course ends, alarm bells start to ring!

One thing that unschooling has taught me is that it enables your child to learn for themselves what interests and motivates them and what is relevant to them at that time.Having a foot in both camps I am learning that my daughter is not being taught to question what the teachers tell her but simply to apply the knowledge to her exam papers so that she gets a good mark.That's all well and good in the short term but it certainly diesn't prepare you for  life beyond school.

Only this morning on the radio, politicians were looking at ways to encourage people to live a healthier lifestyle. Insisting that young children  have a school dinner and banning packed lunches or deciding to discontinue GCSE P.E is unlikely to have the same impact as learning to grow your own vegetables, or spending a day on the fells dry stone walling or hedging and nurturing a love of gardening or the great outdoors.

The trouble with the current education system is that it is not forward thinking enough.It lurches from one idea to another as one by one a new education minister is put in power wanting to put his or her political stamp on the education system.

So where does that leave us? We can't all home educate our children although we do all want to give them the best education we can .

The answer I think is to realise that the education system has its limitations.It's not meeting the needs of many autistic, dyslexic or other children challenged by disability or learning difficulties. Education starts with us at home.We cannot all be Mathematicians or linguists or scientists but we all know people who are or have access to television documentaries about things we don't understand.

Sit down at the table together for family meals (apparently most of us don't do that anymore).Share news, discuss what has been taught at school, throw in opposing views for discussion and encourage our children to get involved in activities outside school such  as Explorer scouts, community choirs, Duke of Edinburgh, where they will learn a whole new set of skills currently missing from the national curriculum.Enable them to be well rounded individuals who follow their passions .Guerilla Learning is a great place to start changing your perspective if you are not already questioning the system. It's never too late.Education in the UK is compulsory until you are 18 in the UK nowadays.I am confident that the Frost family education will continue for life!

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