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Tweaking our place on the structured/autonomous continuum. Help please.

(5 Posts)
Velvetbee Sun 14-Jun-09 22:58:00

Hello All,

I have DS(11) DD(9) DS(4) and DS(2).
We've been HE for 3 years and have settled somewhere in the middle of the structured/autonomous scale. I give the older 2 a list of 15 tasks at the beginning of the week - some textbook exercises, Education City, some practical stuff, the odd TV prog. a bit of research etc. then they choose when to do it. The rest of the time they're pretty much free agents.

This week we're experimenting with autonomous ed.
-because I think it would suit DD.
-because I want to see if my tiny but tenacious inner control freak can cope.
-and because I want to see what will happen if I allow DS1 unlimited access to Runescape!

Is a week long enough for DS1 to get tired of the computer and turn to other pursuits (things I might actually approve of, hmm) or might that never happen. I've decided I can't cope with a child permanantly attached to the computer (no offence to those autonomous HE'ers for whom that isn't a problem) and worry he won't be motivated to do anything else.

He says he is happy with our task-list system so, could I continue with semi-structured ed. for him, whilst facilitating autonomy for DD? (The 4 year old is into workbooks at the mo. but he's up at 5am so I 'do' him then.)

Sorry I've rambled. I've lurked for a little while and thought that with all your experience some of you have probably been there and done it...

ommmward Mon 15-Jun-09 15:46:17

Is a week long enough? It depends on the depth of his interest tbh. My personal estimate for a child whose access to a fantastic resource has previously been limited would be more like 6 weeks, which is based on the highly scientific method of plucking a number from the air...

In your shoes, I'd have a trial period more like 2 months, and then just watch him. See how many of the things he would have learned through workbooks he's learning through the computer (and no, there's no neat educational product at the end of it, but that doesn't mean he's not learning from it). And be ready to talk with him about runescape as much as he wants. If his passion was harry potter plot lines you'd probably be really happy about it - I don't see this as any different

Something which really helps my inner control freak is to blog occasionally, in educational terms, about a random half an hour. This reassures me about the educational value of the rest of the time Come to the UK HE friends ring at and find me and friend me (I have a hot air balloon avatar) and then you can read my blog

Velvetbee Mon 15-Jun-09 22:30:02

I guess I would rather he was out there climbing real trees than scaling virtual ones.
I know I'd embrace autonomous ed. if he was more curious or better able to entertain himself. He's rarely been a child to explore things on his own. He doesn't investigate spontaneously in the way I expected HE'd children to do (the way all my others do) and struggles to occupy himself unless given 'jobs'. He gets stuck in Runescape mode or if I feel he's had enough and needs to take a break he torments his siblings, until I have 3 in tears, while he looks on oh-so-innocently with a little smile on his face. He can do that all day teasing one after another until I am hysterically thumbing through the yellow pages looking for schools with places.
I'm an only child and used to occupy myself for hours at a time, it worries me that he can't manage 10 minutes without his 'prop' Runescape.
Anyway today went pretty well. They had an HE drama workshop 10-3, then played with schooled friends (Runescape) then hit the supermarket with DH. Later he commented that hopping naked causes friction (!) and asked what gelatine is made of. Learning def. going on, just wish the computer wasn't the only way to get family peace.

Kayteee Wed 17-Jun-09 16:09:44

If it's any help, Velvetbee, my ds taught himself to read by playing World of Warcraft.
(Same as Runescape, only better graphics etc;) grin

Honestly, he was on it a lot and was so into the game, and we refused to read him the Quests, that his reading became perfect in the space of about 6 months. This was after 3 years of hating books because the school had ruined it for him, iyswim.

I got advice from other autonomous parents and am really glad I just let go and stopped worrying.

I think there's a lot to be learned from these online games tbh.

Kayteee Wed 17-Jun-09 16:11:24

Maybe he'll be a Game Designer or summat grin

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