Thursday, 28 June 2012

Learning while Deschooling

Well, Middle got off to a flying start today!  Before he even got out of bed he was reading a book, and then as soon as he came downstairs he found two paper plates and decided he wanted to make his own frisbee.  He asked if he could do it straight away, and following my principle of not saying no unless there's good reason, I said that was fine - so before even eating breakfast or getting dressed he sat down with said plates, crayons, glue and scissors (for experimental 'go-faster' flaps), and made his frisbee :)   Another benefit of Home Ed: learning can and does happen at any time!

While it dried he had breakfast, and then asked if he could go on the computer.  On went MathsWhizz, and he spent a good hour 'playing' on that!  Meanwhile Eldest and Youngest were in a bit of a mooch, so I decided some strewing was in order (see my Covert Education post).  With Eldest it's more of a case of exploring interesting stuff in front of him, as he doesn't seem to notice stuff that's just left laying around in the same way that Middle and Youngest do.  Anyway, I went into their learning room and while I asked him what he fancied doing today, I started pulling things off the shelves for 'me' to look at.  The first things I found was a birthday present that he hadn't got round to looking properly at: a How to Draw Rainforest and Ocean Animals kit with instructional DVD.  He immediately grabbed hold of it and asked if he could do it (oh, all right then!)  Youngest could not be prised from watching Middle on MathsWhizz, so Eldest had the lounge all to himself, and spent the next hour at least watching, learning and drawing.  In fact he watched the whole thing, beginning to end, and produced four pencil sketches of a gorilla, macaw, shark and elephant...

Given that art really isn't his subject, I was particularly pleased at his ability to stick with it - if you've read my last few posts, you'll understand my current feeling of abashed-ness (did I just make that word up?).  I think he did just great :)
Once it was Youngest's turn in the PC (Reading Eggs and CBeebies), Middle got into the arty mood again - he is a big fan of the craft box - and decided he was going to make a collage of a desert camel, using lollipop sticks, craft paper, glitter glue and extra sparkly bits (and two fish in the bottom left corner to show that he made it for his big brother, who loves undersea creatures!).  I love his creativity :) 

After Eldest's DVD finished he resumed mooching and was quite quickly joined by Middle.  Time for Mummy to reveal what was in the mystery package that a lovely friend brought round yesterday - "Electronic Battleships" - to happy squeals and shouts of "Cooo-oool!  Can we play it now?" (oh I do love being able to say 'yes' so often!)  Eldest and Middle absolutely loved it - and of course, it's great for practising Maths skills etc.   The only problem was that they had only been playing for ten minutes when Youngest got bored of the computer and immediately wanted to play with his big brothers, which really wasn't viable.  The older two needed me to stay with them as they were still getting the hang of the game, and I now had a whiney little one needing attention too - so that wasn't my favourite part of the day, even though Eldest and Middle had such a great time.  Next time will be better now they know what they're doing though - it was only a temporary stress :)

By the time they finished (Middle won, to his great delight) it was afternoon, and it was getting seriously HOT! (high of 84C in our garden today), so we ate lunch quickly and headed to Fairlands Valley Park, to play in the aqua playground.  There were lots of little ones there, so I had to warn Eldest in particular to be careful not to knock them over as he ran around, but other than that, they had a fabulous time and cooled down nicely - no being stuck in stuffy classrooms for us - and we got away before the after-school rush began... perfect :)

So all in all, that was another lovely day!  A day to put concerns to rest (yes, Middle will regain an interest in learning - and yes, Eldest will be able to concentrate when he is interested), and most importantly, another chance to just enjoy being with my lovely boys :)  It's funny really, the less stressed I get about their learning, the more they learn - which isn't that funny at all, is it? In fact it's obvious when you think about it:  If I'm stressed about their learning, so will they be, with the result that they won't learn, and they certainly won't enjoy learning!  And most of all, I want them to enjoy learning, otherwise how will I expect them to want to pursue it?  Deschooling for us has really become a sort of prolonged 'unschooling' experiment (again!) now. I still have concerns, but our confidence is growing all the time - it's not about leaving them to their own devices; it's about providing them with an environment conducive to learning (we have just a few flexible rules, such as TV off for most of the day, one hour max on computer etc), and then letting them explore - with help when requested or necessary. Anyway, deschooling/ unschooling/ whatever version of Home Ed this is, we're all learning lots, and relaxing lots too... it just gets better all the time :)


  1. What a productive day :)

    Interesting thing is all the learning they did they were engaged with it the whole time they were doing it. You are just reaffirms my belief learning happens where the mind is interested.

  2. Thanks Sally :) It reminds me of something someone said the other day about HE: "is it supposed to be this easy and this much fun?" I think so... :)

  3. - and I totally agree: if they're not interested, why bother? but if they are interested... oh boy, great leaps of understanding can be taken!