Thursday, May 26, 2016
birds of a feather
And with that preparation, my mind turns to schooling the boys on the road.
I've been reading Guerilla Education - How to Give Your Kids A Real Education With or Without School, a fantastic read that my friend Robin loaned me, written by Grace Llewellyn and Amy Silver.
There is so much for me to learn reading this book.
When it comes to education Pete and I have chosen to send our boys to a local public primary school even though I think that mainstream schooling isn't perfect, there are many aspects of school that our boys enjoy, River more so than Sol but he has warmed to it too especially since having grommets put in his ears on the last school holidays. He can finally hear!
For one term each year though, I homeschool our boys while we are on the road traveling for Pete's work with Indigenous Elders around Australia.
The homeschooling is something that I both love and feel anxious about. Am I doing it right? Are the boys going to 'fall behind'? It feels like a tremendous responsibility to school them in an academic way.
While all of my concerns are valid I stop my mind and heart going too far before they spin into a whirlwind of worry. Everything is going to be ok. I take a breath and get some perspective.
We live in a small, beautiful coastal town and community. The natural beauty of the ocean and seascape is truly spectacular. The pace of life away from the city suits us, no traffic or pollution. So many positives.
Here comes the BUT, it is a limited view of the world our children are growing up with here so it is important not just for them but for Pete and I to travel and see the world beyond our bubble here.
Travel for us offers the school of life, or road school as I like to call it.
So, back to education.
What I love about Guerilla Education is the way the authors offer 5 keys to learning: opportunity, timing, interest, freedom and support.
These are the keys that are just not entirely practical to live by in mainstream schooling where unfortunately there is a heavy focus on achievement and outcome and at an ever increasing and pressured pace.
My concern with the mainstream approach is that children's love of learning can be squashed and the critical thing that suffers is their confidence. This has a domino effect on so many aspects of the child's life. I sometimes ponder ways that this could be different that I could suggest to the education department, ways we could change the culture of education. I know, no small task but a worthwhile one!
I'm already putting the Guerilla Learning keys into practice by noticing the topics that naturally catch my sons interests and creating opportunities for them to delve into them deeper.
When I think back to my childhood my great grandmother was really the person who did this for me, who noticed my love of cooking and gave me opportunity, freedom and support to explore this interest. I always remember bringing home a cookbook from the library when I was in about grade four, Grandma let me choose any recipe I wanted and we cooked it together, the recipe was called 'birds nests', baked potatoes with an egg cracked into the middle with bacon and cheese on top!
Sol's interest in birds is so clear and continuous. He's had croup the last couple of days so we have researched and written about birds. Did you know birds have hollow bones? Neither did I. "Let's look up flightless birds Mum!" Sol said enthusiastically, pen in hand ready to write down the names of the birds. Everything the authors of Guerilla Learning said would happen happened! Three months ago getting Sol to write was about as easy as it is for me to fly.
And River, all he wants to talk about, learn about, read about is Greek gods and mythology thanks to Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series of books.
With this in mind I'm starting to prepare lesson plans for our trip based around River and Sol's natural interests. And now I'm excited.
We're such funny creatures us humans, I go through this process of anxiety and nervousness every year before our trip and I come out the other side. Most times for me its a case of loosening my grip a little, just letting go and er... not trying to control the outcome :)
Where are you at with educating your children? When faced with change do you hold on too tight sometimes?