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Good books on home ed theory?

(20 Posts)
StrippedBear Fri 19-Apr-13 09:56:48

Hi everyone!

DD is below school age, but I'm just at the beginning of thinking through whether home schooling would be a good option for us. Can anyone recommend a good book(s) on the rationale for homeschooling. Something with an emphasis on early years might be especially helpful?

ClearlyDad Fri 19-Apr-13 12:09:54

Most of the books on home-schooling will be advocating home-schooling and might colour your judgement.

My advice: think like a curriculum planner. Sit with a pen/paper and make a list of ALL THE STUFF A KID NEEDS TO LEARN (which is rarely the same as "the stuff you think is important"), then work out which bits you can impart and HOW (some people say stuff like "yeah, I can them maths, I used to work in a shop!"...) think instead about HOW you'd teach the maths, and what gaps in your own knowledge there are.

If you want to do the training yourself, a good option would also be to take some OU courses on your own weaknesses so you're better rounded and prepared (i.e. study some education/youth work + some science (if arty) or some arts (if sciency).

Best of luck.

ommmward Fri 19-Apr-13 13:13:28

I've been home edding for 4 years. I've never thought like a curriculum planner as a home educating parent - completely inappropriate for my children. Please note that I am perfectly capable of devising curricula for the mass education of large groups of people, and do so routinely in my professional life. But it really doesn't transfer, for me, to the home educating context.

I've bumped a thread of web resources and also a thread of books about home education. Happy reading!

Flourfairy Fri 19-Apr-13 13:49:00

A book I found very good for getting deep into the rationale as you describe it is Sandra Dodd's Big Book of Unschooling.
Even if you don't follow an unschool philosophy it still provides much food for thought and helps clarify why decide to do or not do certain things.

wintersnight Fri 19-Apr-13 13:54:56

I think Alan Thomas' "How Children Learn at Home" is a great book. He's an academic so whilst he's positive about home education he's not polemical.

ClearlyDad Fri 19-Apr-13 14:14:16

Essentially, I think what we're all trying to say (in our own way) is that there are as many different ways to home-school as there are parent/child combinations. If you are committed to your goals, you will succeed.

StrippedBear Fri 19-Apr-13 14:54:59

Thanks everyone - will go look at the bumped threads too.

It hadn't actually occurred to me that I wouldn't have the necessary skills to teach a 4 year old - am I being arrogant or just incredibly naive? I would have thought early years is all pretty basic stuff - a classroom teacher isn't exactly an expert in all things, is s/he? They've only got a first degree, and it can hardly be rocket science?

(waits to be enlightened)

I think tbh part of my rationale for considering it would be that I would be far better than a classroom teacher - partly because I'd only have 1 child to teach, and therefore I could be responsive - and also because our resources would be huge compared to a school setting - so if we wanted to do coastal erosion, we could go to the beach or whatever...

ClearlyDad Fri 19-Apr-13 15:10:34

The subject material isn't taxing at that age... the secret is in the delivery.

You're right, one on one you'd have masses of advantages, and could mix stuff up to get good results (baking = reading/maths/planning and report writing) and your kid sounds very lucky.

Eventually they will get onto trickier subjects where you may need tutors or to reintegrate them with conventional schooling, and there's always the possibility that your child is some kind of genius who'll be doing calculus at 4... in which case, give him the books, and let him teach you!

StrippedBear Fri 19-Apr-13 15:34:55

Thanks clearlydad

I have been surprised by how many people have been negative about the idea, and have raised the objection that I would lack subject knowledge or skills. I have 3 degrees (BA hons, MSc and PhD) and a PGCE ( did the qualificaiton, but hated teaching in a school environment and never taught), so I'm not exactly stupid or uneducated. Prior to giving up work to be at home with DD, I was managing multi-million pound budgets, managing a big team, delivering projects to tight deadlines - and still, the over-whelming response to my suggestion that I might like to teach my own child (from people who know all of the above) has been that it might be a bit beyond me.

It is just perplexing - and I assume it must be rooted in some very strong foundations about their own choice for their children, rather than a realistic assessment of my abilities. People seem to find the idea of keeping out of main stream schooling so challenging!

I presume everyone else gets this sort of stuff - must drive you lot nuts!

ClearlyDad Fri 19-Apr-13 16:13:05

A big part of it is that most people WOULD love to be able to homeschool their kids, but can't (for economic reasons, or because the dynamic/skillset is a mismatch). What you were probably getting is misplaced jealousy.

I've often thought that the new "free schools" initiative could be a good thing... get together with other parents who're slightly different to me (maybe someone who can play the piano? and swap-teach our kids).

I would love to homeschool mine (I've got teaching qualifications, a BSc, a BA and an MA at the moment... I went for variety rather than specialisation), but will probably fall into the "economic" category.

Saracen Fri 19-Apr-13 16:22:08

Like ommmward, I am entirely unconvinced that home educating parents need to think like curriculum planners. Nothing could be further removed from what I do! As for the secret being in the delivery, that is probably true if you choose to teach your children in a way which resembles the school model. It's possible but not essential to do that. There's very little delivery in our house: the kids go out and take possession of their education themselves rather than having it delivered to them.

With respect, ClearlyDad, I think your ideas on this may change if and when you have the opportunity to give home education a try yourself for a few years.

ClearlyDad Fri 19-Apr-13 16:31:52

Probably. I also feel that my way of phrasing things may be a result of my career history... I'm not nearly as regimented as I seem to have come across. Fingers crossed for the resources to be able to do it myself.

julienoshoes Fri 19-Apr-13 20:50:44 need at all to think anything like a curriculum planner....
No delivery of education either here....all the way through to Further Education College and then Uni level our offspring have led their own education, following their own interests-which have sometimes taken us a long way from what I know/knew and we have learned loads together...

I'd second books by Alan Thomas-he's done the research into informal home based education in the UK.

julienoshoes Fri 19-Apr-13 20:59:07

"a good option would also be to take some OU courses on your own weaknesses so you're better rounded and prepared (i.e. study some education/youth work + some science (if arty) or some arts (if sciency)."

Goodness no need for any of that it if you want to by all means, but there isn't a need to do it-and I'd see it as time wasted when your child could actually be being home educating!

I didn't have time for any of that! We found out that HE was a legal viable option one day, and the deregistration letter went in for all three children the very next school day!

There's a very interesting article on home education by the Frasier Institute -looking at outcomes, where the parent hasn't got a good education themselves here

""Poorly educated parents who choose to teach their children at home produce better academic results for their children than public schools do. One study we reviewed found that students taught at home by mothers who never finished high school scored a full 55 percentage points higher than public school students from families with comparable education levels."

I sincerely believe after all these years and meeting all of these HE families, online and hundreds now in real life, that what you actually need to begin with, is an interest in and enthusiasm for your child's education.
Home educating families become really good at facilitating their children's education.

Badvoc Fri 19-Apr-13 21:08:16

I home schooled my ds1 for a year.
Didn't plan.
Just did lots of trips, he spent lots of time with his grandparents.
We did do workbooks etc and use online resources like maths whizz, but mostly it was facilitating his interests.
I do not have a degree, and have never taught anyone anything before.
It worked well for us.

Badvoc Fri 19-Apr-13 21:09:03

I loved the Alan Thomas books.

chocolatecrispies Sun 21-Apr-13 19:58:59

Another vote for Alan Thomas. He will tell you with research to back it up that there is no need for any curriculum planning or OU courses. John Holt 'Learning all the Time' is also great to help get away from that sort of school based thinking and to focus on your child and facilitating their learning.

stargirl1701 Sun 21-Apr-13 20:00:26

John Holt is very interesting. I'm a teacher but a lot of what he writes really resonates with me. I have met these children he describes hmm

alwayslateforwork Sun 21-Apr-13 20:05:49

I like to read a lot about stuff and think my way round it before I get involved, so I can see where you are coming from. I read a lot of john holt and john taylor gatto, and I also logged onto lots of current home ed and unschooling blogs, found lots of current gurus websites (sandra Dodd etc) followed fb pages, checked out yahoo home ed groups in my local area (and nearest city).

There is sooooooo much info out there that you can pretty much read forever and never actually make any decisions as to how exactly to proceed... But the one thing I will say, is I have never once come across a single home edder or unschooled, past or present, who advocates parents themselves studying in traditional educational environments in order to be able to 'teach' their kids. grin

That way lies madness.

Badvoc Sun 21-Apr-13 20:09:29

I really rate free range education too.
I read that one many times!
Ds is currently back in school but I am more confident that if it all goes wrong again I can do it again.

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