Consistency: an Important Aspects of our Home Learning
© Beverley Paine, 2002
Over the years I've found it useful to have an overall learning strategy in place and to keep some consistency in the way I approach home education. A lot of my thoughts have evolved and crystallized over time, especially when asked what are the essentials in our home education approach.
First of all I've found it very useful to RECORD some aspects of our home learning progress and program. From this I've derived so much confidence I can't overstate how useful a tool recording is. It underpins all my planning and serves as a platform for many learning activities.
The second most important factor over the years has been trying to stay abreast of current trends and research in educational research and philosophy. I like to get hold of curriculum guidelines to see how education is developing, and also like to seek out innovative educational sites on the internet, or browse the psychology section in the local library. This keeps me on my toes, challenging old ways of doing things and helps me formulate ideas and action plans that suit our individual learning needs within the family.
Another really important facet of our home learning has been the continual striving to connect with other home learning families for confidence, companionship, reassurance, shared learning opportunities, inspiration. the list of outcomes of reaching out to like minded others goes on and one!
Being clear about my objectives and motives, staying honest, chasing and eliminating hypocrisy and inconsistency in attitudes and values, and understanding why I parent and educate the way I do are paramount in our home learning lifestyle. I place a lot of emphasis on personal responsibility and personal values evolution. As the leader or supervisor of the education program, particularly in the children's younger years, I found this approach to be essential to remain sane and on track.
The critical evaluation of the processes, media, activities, social and other learning experiences, sometimes helped by judicial recording, often just in my head or by discussion, is another absolute essential. Home education is as much about learning about the learning process as it is about the children learning about life!
On the family side of things learning to avoid conflict by recognising and meeting our individual needs promptly and by being individually responsible for this process has been a very important feature of our home learning life. We found that compromise and conflict resolution came naturally as cooperative behaviour evolved.
I learned to allow the children to be responsible for what happens - inviting them to have considerable control over decisions that concern their welfare, daily life and activities, allowing them to decide their own immediate future within clear guidelines and a supportive atmosphere. This really took a lot of the burden from my shoulders and made me less paranoid over all.
Another very important aspect of our home learning environment is the way we involved the children in our adult activities and the way we emphasise family responsibilities rather than individual responsibilities. We aren't perfect on this score, but we keep striving to operate as a unit, helping each other with tasks and chores that ultimately benefit us all.
While learning the basics are important we emphasise a holistic approach to learning, knowing that a full and busy life gives rise to a complete education. In this I recognise the excellence and efficiency of the apprenticeship model of learning and like to adopt that approach wherever possible.
These are just some of our absolute essentials collected over fifteen years of home education.
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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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