Home Education Post Home Education page 2

Thank you

I want to say thank you to a lady in our local vets. I took our family dog for her annual check up and doggy jabs etc. It was an official school day and out little tiger was with me.

Any body who home educates will know that every day questions such as “Not in school today ” “Are you off school ill” become part of the usual patterns of conversation with the general public. It can at times be very annoying to say the least. I often wonder if the people asking the questions and giving negative responses to my child realise how hurtful and discriminatory they are being to my child. (but that’s another story !!)

Anyway something else happened…

The receptionist said the usual “Not is school today ? ” and before myself or tiger could reply with the usual response, she then said “ooh are you being home schooled ? ” and she smiled and said ” that’s good “. I could have cried with joy.

As a home educator I am often greeted with negative comments when I say that my child in not in the school system.

It was refreshing to be greeted by a person who understood about home education and was positive towards me and my child. We have home educated for coming up to one year and not one person in the public has actually recognised home education as a viable option for education.

Thank you lady in the vets !!!!!!!!!!!!

Home education and holidays

I haven’t been able to blog as we have been on holiday for a week. This is the first holiday we have been able to take in term time as our tiger was in school this time last year.

I must say there was a lack of children overall on holiday, only a few pre school children and mainly couples taking a holiday before the schools break up. I felt as if we were slightly truanting in a strange way but of course we were not !! I then felt a sudden rush of freedom as I was reminded that as a home educator we are free to make our own choices.

A very big plus point of our holiday was of course being able to visit attractions mid week without the crowds and of course the price, it was much cheaper than it will be in a few weeks time when the schools break up. The motorways were less congested too.

It was a total win win situation.

Children are underachieving in school

It is reported today by ofsted that thousands of children are not reaching the standards that they are capable of in education. Children’s grades in GCSE’s do not reflect their sats tests grades at age 11. It is expected that children who achieve a Level 5 in English and Maths at age 11 should be able to pass a GCSE at Grade B at age 16.

Chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said it was “shocking” that, in some cases, school leaders and teachers did not even know who their most able children were.” He stated today on News at one that the thought that teachers had low expectaions of some children. Teaching unions say that sats test results are not a good predictor of future GCSE attainment. Is there any wonder parents are confused ?

There is the concern that schools have been measured and assessed by how many children they can get through a GCSE at above a grade C. Therefore, it is argued that the schools have not concentrated on the more able pupils and have allowed them to only attain a C or a B grade when they could have achieved an A or A*.

The government proposes that children should be graded into ability sets at age 11 when they reach secondary school. ( but what about the late developers, have we written off these children at age 11 ? ) John Holts, graded like vegetables quote springs to mind !

I ask, Why is it that childrens natural abilities and natural curiosities are being switched off. Yesterday my little tiger sat eating a packet of snack type crisps.

“What is maize” ? he asked

I explained about maize. “Is it like wheat” ? “why use maize instead of wheat or potatoes?” he further asked

Our natural conversation lead us to discuss maize, corn, wheat farming and the food industry. We digressed to food allergies and weaning babies. He contextualised this himself by asking what his little toddler relatives ate. He asked about farming in different countries, weather and globalisation. All from one natural curiosity about the ingredients listed on the side of his snack packet.

I am sorry to digress but I do not feel that my Tiger’s curiosity was naturally allowed to flow while he was in a school setting. Also when he arrived home from the school day he was tired and weighed down with an hours homework to complete for the next day. It was homework, it was set to consolidate his learning from the school day. I often felt like I was teaching my child not the school, like it was my responsibility to ensure my child had learnt, sorry I mean consolidated his learning for the day. ( and this was primary school)

My other concern here is that if GCSE’s are dumbed down at the moment and children are not reaching the standards of the dumbed down GCSE, how are the children going to improve when the GCSE’s are made tougher.

Unless something radical happens in schools, surely more children are going to be underachieving when tougher GCSE’s are put in place. Shouldn’t the government be asking the research question, “why are so many children being switched off as soon as they start school?” and “why are children being taught to pass tests in primary school which seem to have little bearing on GCSE’s and A levels and adult life in general ?

Role models in books and television

Yesterday, sky news reported that a survey conducted by netmums.co.uk showed that 92% of mums thought that male role models in childrens books were negative. In particular Peppa Pig was sited as having a negative male role model as Peppa’s father was seen as being stupid and not able to carry out basic tasks. Sky news interviewed school staff and children and found that a little boy interviewed did have a postive perception of his father and a teacher explained that the books were positive as they had a positive outcome. I still think it is important to listen to the mums who are concerned that the processes occuring in the books are negative. I do not think that everything is about outcomes, sometimes the processes can be damaging.

On this note, I have been watching children’s television. I have recently watched CBBC and thought that the lunatics had taken over the asylum. Seriously, I was disturbed to see how adults (male and female) are behaving on childrens television programmes. I understand that the TV characters and presenters have to engage with the children but some programmes are bordering on the ridiculous. I saw Lets Cook, a female TV presenter who is an adult teaching the children to engage in cooking but behaves in what I can only describe as stupidly. Another is Rhyme Rocket, a pair of male presenters who are dressed in red onesies and boots jumping around chanting words which rhyme in a stupid manner.

Why do we have this culture on childrens television where the TV companies think that children need to be shown something stupid to be able to learn. I get the slap stick humour of MR Tumble and yes he is dressed as a clown. I do get this and yes children do like to laugh and have fun when learning.

However there are messages being given to children from books and television which are giving negative adult role models. I agree with netmums.

Shakespeare Children’s Stories

Many moons ago I remember being introduced to Macbeth as part of an English GCSE. I loved the story. plot and characters but did struggle accessing the pre twentieth century text.

I have discovered the Shakespeare Children’s Stories. They do what it says on the tin as they say. The books simplify the stories for children. They are brilliant for parents to read with their children. We are reading Romeo and Juliet at the moment. A catalyst for all sorts of questions from our little one. A good reading resource for all parents but be prepared for lots of inquisitive questions about Shakespeare.

The British Nutrition Foundation

I have just read an article about a study conducted by the The British Nutrition Foundation also known as the BNF. They have published today that children in schools are lacking in some important knowledge about food and where it originates from and how some basic vegetable are grown. Out of 27,500 children 29 % of primary children thought that cheese came from a plant and 18% of children thought that fish fingers came from a chicken. The study also states that 1 in 10 secondary children think that tomatoes grow underground.

There is a new healthy eating week about to be launched, teachers will teach how food is grown and also where it comes from. 1.2 million children are about to take part in another healthy eating week which will focus on how food is cooked and where it comes from. It seems children can now state that they need to eat 5 fruit and veg a day but do not know what it is and where it is from.

I find it really sad that children do not know basic knowledge about basic food that we eat. Growing tomatoes is a brilliant way to talk and learn about photosythesis, growing food, farming techniques ie tomatoes grown in water not soil etc. HOw and why plants are so important to our planet. How plants and trees were on the planet years before human beings. Why are so many children not being allowed to learn and explore our planet and nature in a natural way and want to know because of their natural curiosity. Children can not learn everything in school by textbooks and watching you tube videos on white boards. Children learn by natural conversations and by doing, one leads to the other.

I think this information from the BNF is really sad and it is also sad that it has to be put right by yet another government strategy being introduced. Something is not working if children do not know how a tomato grows !!!!

scrapbooking

Hi, as your know I am an avid reader. I am currently reading Ross Mountney’s brilliant book A funny kind of education. I am inspired and can so relate to it. Practically it has inspired me to support our little one make a Travel scrap book. We have ordered a scrap book from ebay.co.uk and will now be keeping a scrap book of all the visits we do. Apart from the education aspect of it, what a brilliant memory lifestory book too.

Day at the museum

Yesterday we visited a victorian museum. Little one was able to handle real artifacts and sit in a victorian classroom setting. There was clothing for children to dress up and pretend to be victorian children at school.

Children can also visit the victorian rooms to see how families, lived worked and played.

Litle one has been learning about Queen Victoria and what it was like to be a child in victorian times.
During this visit, he was exploring the victorian kitchen and he suddenly stopped

“wait a minute” he said “this isn’t that long ago is it ?

“Not really” I replied.

In Inspector Poirot style, he identified how the speed of technology has changed how we live. He learnt about more than the artifacts, he learnt about the impact of technology on culture. I could see the coggs turning from the minute he stopped and said “wait a minute” a moment of true learning at his own pace.

Child Development

Hello again. Earlier today I added a child development page to the site. Child development has always been a passion of mine. I was once informed that a person can identify their passion by the following. Imagine that you are in a public space ie a hotel lounge, a waiting area or a cafe bar etc. Imagine that you can overhear other people having a conversation about a topic. What therefore is that topic which you would not be able to stop yourself joining into the conversation. The topic which you would not be able to stop your self joining in is probably something which you are probably quite passionate about. My passion is thus child development and education/home education.

Play is a child’s work

To borrow from  words of child development giants, as a home educator I support play as a way in which children can learn and make sense of our world. Children are naturally  little scientists.   They will naturally work out cause and effect.   Just observe  a child playing  with a bouncing ball.  Why should this stop or be curtailed  when children reach official school age? With talk about extending school hours and reducing school holidays,  I wonder if  childhood is  being reduced.