Thursday, October 29, 2009

Playing teacher at home:dipping my toe into home schooling

Ok, so again not an official veganmofo post but I'll use the logo anyway!!

Last night Tweenie was complaining about swollen glands in her throat. So when she woke up this morning I gave her the option of staying home if she chose. They never get to stay home when they are a little bit sick, I'm usually working full time and make them go to school (what a bad mother!). So she decided to stay home (no surprises there!). I told her we would do a little bit of learning at home and asked her what she wanted to learn. She suggested the maths book I bought her ages ago. And then talked about impressionism, which she is learning at school. I though that if she was already learning it at school we should maybe look into something different. She chose cubism (I'm pretty sure she just plucked this out of thin air, but that was ok). So I had a look at Art galleries in Melbourne and found that the National Gallery of VIctoria had little activity booklets for children to follow around the gallery and learn about a certain theme. Excellent, I thought! And Tweenie was more than happy to drop the cubism thing.

So, while I waited for the real estate agent to turn up we did a lot of maths and it was awesome to watch her face when she 'got it'! Its exactly the thrill I get when I teach full time. Then we got out a history book and we learnt about the slave trade in Africa in the 1800's. I came up with a couple of questions for her to research from this topic on the internet while I spoke to the agent.

Then we jumped on the train for an 'excursion' to the NGV. The themes we chose to look at were Persuasion by Jane Austen and Totally Wigged Out - people and fashion of the 1800's.

Both were very fascinating topics! From this Tweenie has now gained an interest in Jane Austen and wants to read one of her novels! So we picked up the other 2 kids from 'real' school and headed to the library. Unfortunately all of Jane Austen's novels were booked out and some were not even due back until December! Shame! There was a teenage fiction novel of her's that would have been perfect and it was available but it was nowhere to be found! Even the library staff tried to find it to no avail. Looks like I may have to buy the book, which I was really hoping not to - to save money! Maybe I'll have a look in the op shops (that'll give me something to do tomorrow).

So Tweenie really enjoyed today and I am hoping to do it more often. I would really love to have them home full time. Being in the education sector myself, I am really becoming disillusioned with the education system. I love the fact that we can follow whatever path the children want to learn about, rather than what the school says they should learn. We can go at the pace suited to each child, rather than learning the same concept over and over, just to make sure the weaker kids 'get it'. They get real life skills. They are interested in what they learn. They can be socialised through external activities like scouts, sports etc. There will be NO bullying by other awful children (only their siblings haha). We all get a lot closer as a family. Plenty of one-on-one time.The list could go on.
The negatives are that the children will be around 24/7 (also a positive). Not much me time. Won't be able to earn money. Not sure how Popeye would feel about it, especially supporting us financially.
Maybe I could do a bit with the children on weekends, or maybe pull them out on the days I don't get work. Part time school/home combination is also acceptable through the education department. It's all really early days. It would certainly solve the problem of the children having to change schools every few years when we move with the Navy, the teachers taking a whole term to get to know the child (happens every year to every child), teaching to the test (thats the whole curriculum!!). Oh, so much to think about! I also found a forum for ADF families who home school! There is a wealth of knowledge out there.

Do you have any opinions about home schooling?



Unknown said...

i think home schooling is a great idea provided there is adequate socialising and a balance curriculum. when i was in school i thought the idea was dreadful, and that all home schooled kids were weirdos. thing is, i hated school so much for all the reasons you said. it doesn't work for most kids and for those it fails, they're left feeling dumb, or worthless, or in my case very very angry. I hated how things were taught, what we were made to learn, the pace at which it was taught, the focus on passing exams because if you don't do well in school your life is over (if i'd have know this was a lie i would have had a much better time of things!) and the way my school treated kids. there was a huge power imbalance, kids were not to be trusted and many teachers and especially higher ups were condescending and cruel to kids who weren't coping. Teachers were under-qualified. I t was a mess.

So looking back as an adult, I think home schooling is such a great idea. if I have kids I would seriously consider the option, probably not doing it all by myself, but perhaps organising a little teaching co-op where a small group of kids get shared between parents. Sounds a bit utopian but it's an idea. either that or researching alternative schools that aren't weirdly religious. but that's a long way off....

Andrea.F said...

Hi Tahn,
I think about home schooling alot. My son started prep this year and has felt sad and anxious about going to school quite a bit - he has 25 kids in his class!! We are thinking about what the alternatives are at the moment - I just want my kids to look back and feel happy about learning....I really love Phillipa O's idea about a teaching co-op - and yep, it's hard to find an alternative school without some kind of obscure (to me anyway!)ideas!

BrisVegan said...

I love the idea of home schooling. However, I don't think that I have either the patience or strictness to be a homeschooler. (I would be putty in their lazy, TV wanting hands, I suspect.)

However, as a Uni lecturer, some of the brightest and most creative people I have taught have been home schooled.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

steph said...

Tahn, are you going to Abbotsford for WVD tomorrow? I'm happy to lend you my copies of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility if Tweenie would like to borrow them.