How much of your day do you spend fully focused on and conscientiously facilitating your HE child(ren)?(12 Posts)
Because while I am drawn to the idea of HE, and am seriously considering it for DS (4) whom I think it could really suit, I am certain - knowing how we live - that we would not put in the same number of hours of focused education as school.
There wouldn't be six or more hours a day of hardcore, parent-involved learning. There'd be a bit of this and that; bursts of activity and also much idleness. We'd jump from one thing to the next, DS would not infrequently have to play on his own while I do household paperwork and chores, we'd have very active days and trips out and visit friends or have them over, and then plenty of lazy days and aimless moments. I'd sometimes lose my temper with DS, he'd sometimes behave in ways that would stump me and it would all go a bit pear-shaped - and there'd be some incredible moments when something would click and his progress and capacity to learn would amaze me.
The above doesn't seem to meet the HE requirement to be "full-time", nor seem Waltons-esque enough to be "good" HE.
Can I be a sometimes idle, not altogether consistent and definitely imperfect parent who needs time throughout the day to switch off and read a book - and still effectively HE a bright child who seems to suit this approach?
What you've described is pretty much how it is for us!
"six or more hours a day of hard-core teacher-involved learning" (one-to-one) I'm pretty sure doesn't happen in any school!
My bright dd (9) does about 1-2 hours "formal" ie. written work/maths/science/history a day and the amount of stuff she has covered in phenomenal!
We managed to pretty well cover KS2 in one year, because it is ^one to one^! She is not sharing me with 29 other kids of varying abilities.
We have days when I think we've done nothing, but she might have read a book or discovered something of interest on the TV, in the garden, whilst we are out somewhere or the computer or just by talking to someone.
Learning happens all the time, it's only made boring and a chore because they have to do it in school, because they are told to do it in school.
"Waltons-esque" - mm well if that means scrapping and fighting siblings we have that daily too!
"There wouldn't be six or more hours a day of hardcore, parent-involved learning."
I have seen it quoted that children get something like 18 mins one to one attention in school per week!
That helped put things into perspective for me!
"Can I be a sometimes idle, not altogether "Tconsistent and definitely imperfect parent who needs time throughout the day to switch off and read a book - and still effectively HE a bright child who seems to suit this approach?"
Absolutely-I know because I have done just that for three of them!
"There'd be a bit of this and that; bursts of activity and also much idleness. We'd jump from one thing to the next, DS would not infrequently have to play on his own while I do household paperwork and chores, we'd have very active days and trips out and visit friends or have them over, and then plenty of lazy days and aimless moments."
Sounds just like us!
"and there'd be some incredible moments when something would click and his progress and capacity to learn would amaze me."
Spot on! Exactly!
I'd suggest you have a look at "Free Range Education" edited by Terri Dowty, where different families explain how home education works for them. Some of them are quite autonomous-child interest led. Might be worth exploring more about autonomous learning.
We area totally autonomous educating family (known as 'unschoolers' in the USA), we haven't done any structured work unless the children have requested it. It has worked fabulously for us.
We have been away at the caravan for a few days. Yesterday dd2 got up when she was ready (about midday), we watched a film together, then she chose to work on her OU course assignment. She spent about an hour on that. Then we tidied up the caravan. Went for a walk to the local farm shop and then came home. We did lots and lots of talking about things she wanted to know about-covering a vast range of subjects, from family history, to what causes flooding, to music she has been listening to.
We came home. She cooked for the family. I worked on the pc.Then her guitar teacher arrived, she had an hours lesson with him and then spent the rest of the evening on her laptop, chatting to friends on msn/listening to music.
There wouldn't be "six or more hours a day of hardcore, parent-involved learning." It never has been. All our days go something like this-learning doesn't have a set 9-3 timetable as it does in school.
But it has been efficient enough to take a very bright (but very severely dyslexic) child from where she left school aged nearly nine, completely unable to read or spell or read even her own name, to a place where, aged 15, she is doing very well on the OU course she has started.
From Joyfully Rejoycing 'A day in the life of an unschooler'To put it in a nutshell, unschooling days are like great days of summer vacation. They can be anywhere from filled to the brim with activities or they can be laid back leisurely days of watching clouds (or playing video games ;-)
Thank you three for your really helpful posts. I feel a lot better now!
DS has just started at school, and part-time, which is raising eyebrows - but of course absolutely legal. I feel bewildered: I'm loving our freestyle learning mornings at home and am ideologically in the HE camp, but no one else in our lives beyond very close family seems to feel quite the same and instead others are full of all kinds of "wisdom" on why school is best and DS needs to get going for longer, soon. "Be careful not to project your anxieties about school onto DS." "What about socialising?" "Well he wouldn't have missed such-and-such an activity if he was there." "When he doesn't want to go, he's just playing up - his tears are only for Mum." Argh! We're brill doing our own thing at home and out and about - it's the minute we try to mesh with the rest of the world.
I'm a lone parent, so HE would raise financial issues; and DS has no siblings, which could make it a bit intense for him and me. But we do have a lot of family and friends close by, and I know my parents would support us.
Who knows if it'll work out? But again, your posts were truly uplifting. Your days sound lovely. Every time I read anything about HE, I'm reminded of how much it resonates with me. Thanks for that.
I can identify with your feeling that you are going against the tide. My 4 year old didn't start school 2 weeks ago and I get the raised eyebrows when I tell people I just think he's too young and not ready. We are seriously considering HE long term, but in any case will definitely not send him to school until we feel (and he feels) he is ready. Some people really look as though they think they have misunderstood me when I tell them, and then when they realise they haven't they say things like "Oh, you'll have to let him go eventually" or "you'll make it harder for him in the long run" (which I don't believe, I think when a child is ready for something they will find it easier).
It is hard, but I really believe the best person to judge what is best for your child is YOU! ( and the best person to judge whether a child is "playing up" whatever that means, or is actually upset and worried and anxious etc. is also someone who loves and knows him.) I just try to remember that when talking to people who don't know my ds who are telling me what THEY think is best for him.
Have you joined any HE groups. It has really made me feel better to know that there other people who see things the way I do. The Earlyyears HE Yahoo group is a good place to share ideas and get advice. There are links on here, I will try to paste one on this thread but not sure I know how to....
Can't work out how to copy it, but on the thread "how to find other home educators" which I have just bumped up, click on "internet lists" on first post, it will direct you to education otherwise site page where there is a link to Early Years Home Education group.
Also other good links on that thread too, and some I haven't looked at yet, I must!
here you go
Early Years Home Ed Support group
There's a lovely post here from an unschooling family in the UK, which outlines the shape of a typical day. Lovely stuff!
I have loved reading Greenhouse posts over the last few years.
My other favourite is Sometimes it's Peaceful
...where there have also been several "day in the life" posts recently
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