Barcode Free Education
A friend of mine is participating in a 'barcode free' diet for a month. The Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) came up with the idea: it's a challenge to consume whole foods only for 30 days. She said their definition of a whole food "is any item of food or drink that doesn't carry a bar code, other than spring water and any nutritional or herb supplements. So, they're suggesting no canned food, processed bread or cheese, no milk unless raw, no ready-made meals or sauces, no cordials, no fizzy drinks." In other words, something completely unprocessed.
Which got me thinking, what if we did the same with home education? Spend a month not using anything that has been created for the purpose of education; that is, created with the intention of teaching someone something. I think it would be a lot harder than it sounds.
In an extreme version, as home educating parents, we'd need to clear our minds of that constant clatter to take advantage of whatever resource or opportunity that crops up that could help our children learn whatever it is we're currently keen on them learning.
But perhaps it would really only require us to spend some time being creative and imaginative, using natural materials and everyday opportunities to explain what we mean, illustrate a concept or point, work through problems and answer questions without reaching for a book, worksheet, instructions, a guide, or the internet?
Little children learn this way naturally every day. They learn by doing. And while they are doing they are thinking and reflecting and observing. Observing themselves as learners as well as observing everything else that's happening as they are doing. They trust in their ability to learn and do. And they're happy to express their frustration and to demand help -- and to express their frustration when the help they need isn't delivered quickly enough or in the appropriate manner! Motivation to learn is high in those early years.
Perhaps that's because everything is still raw... wholesome and holistic, unprocessed. Ready to be experienced by the senses without too much interference from what others think is right or best or appropriate for them. Little children love to roam and explore and often ignore our attempts to direcd them to the gadgets, toys and items we think are best for them!
Could a 'barcode free' experiment over a week or a month be a short cut to understanding and experiencing the joys of unschooling? Or an experiment that helps along the deschooling process? I say, it's definitely worth a try!
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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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Beverley Paine, The Educating Parent
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