Saturday, January 16, 2010

School of thought....or is that thoughts on schooling

I spent the morning with Sarah Mc today and our conversation led me to do some deeper thinking...(LOOK OUT) on schooling for the children. Sarah and a group of her friends are planning to home school or unschool, I must confess myself a bit ignorant to this concept previously but after chatting it through with Sars I can see why people would home school and some of the benefits it has as apposed to sending your child to be educated outside the home.

Whilst I have absolutely NO desire to home school I am a big big fan of education in all its forms. At home we spend a lot of time with our children reading books, learning colours, numbers and letters, this is never forced on them though and usually we do it when the kids have expressed an interest in things...for example Mikey who is almost 2 loves books and counting last week he was flipping through his book so I sat down next to him and we counted the leaves, the teddy's and kittens in his book he loved doing this and can count to 10 already..however if he had gotten up and walked away from his book when I sat with him I would not of chased him around the house saying "count Mikey count" lol. It was explained to me that this is child led learning and I guess maybe I must have some inner hippy lying dormant since I have been naturally doing this child led learning stuff with all the children.

Malinda who is 10 attends Naranga which is a school for children who have intellectual disability's and whilst I hate to put a label on her or anyone for that matter the truth of the matter is that she does have some very real learning problems and delays for her age.Even though she expresses an interest in doing/learning certain things the way her brain is wired makes some concepts almost impossible for her to grasp and understand, this can be very frustrating for her and the older she gets the more aware she is that she cannot understand and do everything that other children her age can. At her school she learns reading, writing and maths but she is also taught life skills, cooking and how to use money, her lessons are tailored to her capability's and centred around her needs. I love this about her school because she is taught at a level that she can understand at and can grow and make progress, which is a huge boost to her self confidence and helps in the learning process...she is also in a class of 8 students so she receives lots of one on one attention, something that I also feel is vital for her continued growth.

We are currently in the process of organising Peter for the start of his schooling years, he will attend Langwarrin Park Primary after some debate between parents we settled on this school for him. We feel that Peter will have a great time at school as he is the type of child who constantly needs new challenges and does not take long to master skills. He is very intelligent (his fathers genes) and we feel that sending him to be educated outside of the home in a structured environment will be the best way for him to learn and fulfill his potential.Peter gets bored easily because he masters things quickly (something that frustrates mummy) and when he is bored he can become naughty and sometimes completely intolerable with his demands...but I realise he is not doing this because he is a "bad" kid he simply wants to learn and do new things, sending him to school will (we he parents feel) provide more opportunity's for him to experience different types of learning through a variety of avenues including excursions, incursions, art, music and the use of different technology's.

Now I realise that these avenues can also be done by home schooling but as I said I have no desire to home school my children and believe that it is every parents personal choice as to how they want to educate their children...for me I think that as long as the child is actually being educated and learning then the "HOW" it is being done is really not so important, I would not of said this 12 months ago but now that I have been EDUCATED a little on home schooling/ or unschooling I think that if you have the time passion and determination to do so that it is a great way for you to educate your child. As I previously said I am passionate about education (in whatever shape it takes) and believe it to be a very important part of life.., at 31 years old I still love to learn new things and develop new skills and I enjoy sharing this with and encouraging this in all my children. David and I both try to spend time with each of the children doing things that they love, at the moment this takes the form of drawing, both Malinda and Peter are into drawing so we have hired books from the library that show them how to draw a variety of different things and help them to expand on their skills as mini artists...and a much as having sheets of paper all about the house is driving me nuts at the moment it is awesome for us to watch the kids get so much enjoyment out of doing something the both love. Not only are they learning about drawing but they are also learning shapes, colours and structures ..without even knowing it.


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