Fabulous Greek Super Learning Day at Manchester Museum… 

Today was Lil’ Lady’s turn at the Museum for a day of Greek discovery. 

We set off very early as part of the city centre had road closures. 

We kick started the day with a self guided tour, an ipad and a  sheet of paper where we imagined we were on a voyage and we had to find items; we took pictures on the ipad. We were supposed to be in groups, however Lil’ Lady ended up by herself.

The artifacts asked for were based around ancient Greek myths, Gods and people as we went on our voyage.

For example 

“In Perseus’ myth, Perseus uses Hades’ cap of invisibility to escape from Medusa’s evil sisters.

Find Something that could turn you invisible on a sticky Situation!”

This was fab as it allowed us to explore our knowledge and recall what we already knew whilst engaging with the different artefacts in the gallery.

After we finished our self guided tour we had time for a snack then we had a Greek Myths storytelling and drama workshop. 

Here the Group examined Greek pottery for inspiration before putting into action Greek Drama techniques to create their own group myth. Using the story mountain/arch technique.

Freeze frame drama …

Artifact handling 

Look how happy that face is…. and then she proceeds to describe how the sword is blunt be a use it got stool in bone when it killed a man… (definatley my child)

The last session after lunch was all about trade.

So after a talk about the 4 city states they’ll be using to do their own trade activity..Athens, Tyre, Naucratis, Kroton. (I was surprised at how far the Greek Empire spread) each group was given a home city, where they had to investigate what they had to trade (traditional ancient Greek artifacts.) Then they were to become the traders of those cities as they went on a journey around the room visiting the different cities to trade. Except they moved around the room like a giant board game…

Getting closer to my city to trade 

And they’ve made it… 

The game was the perfect end to the day. ..Lil’ Lady had a fabulous time and made a few new friends, and enjoyed meeting up with old ones…and I was surprised at her confidence today.. a big  👍 from me too! 

Museum DNA Workshop…

After the safety talk and an explanation on DNA the group got stuck into an experiment – to find out if the DNA on evidence (coins) matched the DNA from a dead body.

They got to extract DNA which The Boy said was pretty cool. 

                    (Transferring DNA)

He also was impressed they had a female scientist conducting the workshop.. 

A little morning Yoga

A very proud Lil’ Lady

Morning reading ritual…

It is has become a ritual now for us all to read in the morning at breakfast.. it also helps that it is less formal and especially for Lil’ Lady there is less pressure for her to “perform”. Now we read becasue we have a love of reading, and because she observes us all reading she wants to find her own enjoyment.

I use this time to listen with one ear for a while, and chime in occassionally, then sit back and let her navigate the pages for herself. Seems to be working….

Home Education and Socialisation.

Socialisation is usually the stick Home Educators are beaten over the head with..so it was lovely to find this Business Insider article today.

Particularly this little snippet …

“A small but growing body of research suggests homeschoolers, compared to kids in traditional schools, grow up with stronger friendships with other kids, better relationships with their parents and adults, greater empathy, and, at least as adolescents, a greater sense of social responsibility.”

And from my own observations I see this too. .its just nice to see what Home Educators have been saying for years officially recognised in a study because after all no one believes the ones at the coal front unless someone with a few letters after their name conducts a study.

But this made me scoff out loud after my post yesterday and how the Home Ed mum has been lambasted by all and sundry ..especially after reading this quote;

“Technology’s rise has been so swift and widespread, much of the socialization now starts on, moves to, or somehow involves the internet – no matter the learning environment.”

Technology! 

I have to admit I’m a technophobe but as I type this Lil’ Lady is sat on her tablet watching a documentary on racoons. The boy is upstairs fiddling with Raspberry Pi whilst chatting over Skype with a friend.. an online friend! 

Technology is part and parcel of this generation. And as much as I’m a technophobe I’ve made connections across the globe networking with other Home Educators. Sharing philosophies, resources, experience and even sometimes commiserations. Without being plugged in we wouldn’t have the rich tapestry of learning that we do, or made the friendships we have.

So looking back at yesterday’s post and the whole uproar over Katie Pybus allowing her children to be plugged in for 7 hours a day.. its a non issue…. put aside the whole bad representation of Home Ed in the public eye and the technology side becomes a non issue.  Especially as you think about how schooled children use technology also and are constantly plugged into their phones or tablets from waking until bed time. 

Technology allows us to reach out beyond our neighbourhood, our city and even our county. It allows us to connect in real time globally…for us it means that both The Boy and Lil’ Lady can learn guitar..can access Japanese and Spanish lessons, can find information literally at their figertips…even The Boys Archive+ workshops at Central Library involve him accessing the computerised archives and how to search large databases of archives from other institutions around the world. It allows them to be adaptable to different methods of learning. They are just as comfortable sat learning over Skype (a tool they may use when older to conference call) as they are in a “normal” classroom environment, workshop or in a one to one tutoring environment. And it’s this what they take with them everywhere they go. Its this that helps round them in conjunction with all the other learning opportunities they have in the real world..from climbing lessons, swimming, forest school, playdates to negotiating the real world; taking charge when out shopping, organising events, helping to play trips and in doing so interacting with people of all walks of life, religions and ages.

All this combined has created well grounded individuals, and it is this that I often get remarked upon no matter where we go. About how mature they are when talking with adults, their confidence and sense of self and how easily they are able to adapt to an environment and yes make friendships. 

So I’ll bring my ramblings to an end as I’m being nudged to watch the racoon documentary….. 

The Home Education shit hits the fan…

I have to admit I shy away from reading articles about Home Education as they are rarely positive and even when they are the comments from Joe public are less than positive and most often damn right damning with the good old socialisation debate thrown around by well meaning folks who have no idea what Home education is about.Hoping to hit the damned with that holy word and watch them turn to dust…whilst they sit back..fingers poised on their keyboards ready to argue until the cows come home about a subject they know little about..

In all honesty most parents know little about the education system or schools as a whole… I admit to being one of those people. Yes I was a teacher for over 10 years but being in the role of teacher is very different than being in the role of student… it is not until you transfer yourself into that role that your mind is opened. .and for me it was what I like to call my WTF moment!!! 

Because I’d been on the rat wheel of life… living to work.. single mum juggling 2 minions then…dropping my kids of at a childminder (lovely lady) who transported them to school, where they were “educated” and then picked them up again and kept them busy until I returned from a hard days slog tired and my mind still computing what essays I needed to mark. .what  meeting I had coming up. .what new initiative I needed to digest so that I could improve learning.

I’d checked out from  my own children and entrusted the school to do their part with blind fucking faith…and those so called well meaning people commenting on those articles have provably done the same in some part..because that’s what we do..we trust school because we have to… we have jobs to go to in order to pay the mortgage and buy things for the children we hardly ever see. Put food on the table.Clothes on their backs yada, yada, yada….

Anyway I digress (as I often do)  

This past week there has been an article in the media which has created alot of debate. Okay debate is too mild away to describe it…you may have read it about the mum who allows her children to play games for 7 hours a day… well that’s the headline it opened with. . You can read it Here 

And a little from her interview ..where I think she comes across really well Here

…. at first I was enraged…seriously ..I almost became one of those…you know. .those who shall not be named (whispers keyboard warriors.)

How dare this women smear Home Education the way she did…. now it’s just given Joe public and the government (Badman style) more to beat us over the head with and use for their agenda of registration and regulation. ..

After a few deep breaths and my hot headedness had subsided I saw it for what it was..fucking click bait. A nice sensationalist piece..that had no doubt been edited to represent one aspect of that families home education journey. Now I don’t condemn her style. What I do take issue with is her doing a Mirror feature story without considering the implications.

Now if you took the time to visit the blog of that family you’d see that their home education journey is not just so one dimensional.(Sadly due to harassment the blog has been set to private)…but that is not what everyone got to see. Her article was the face of Home Education in the UK the moment it was printed and that should have been considered because her style does not represents thousands of Home Educating families up and down the country.

I’m not saying her Educational style is wrong..the childrens interests are being followed at the moment and I know through personal experience that games and online learning has its benefits. Lil lady has learnt about the periodic table through a Minecraft inspired educational game. The boy is forever coding or learning Japanese via online lessons. Technology has its place but the article has given people a handle to grasp hold of to use as evidence that Home Education is wrong in favour of school

Believe me I’ve had to sit in the back of lessons. Shadowing children as a teacher and it was boring as hell..not to mention your sense of self being totally eroded (but that’s a whole other blog post). What we see as parents on schools Facebook pages,  websites and parents evenings are the instagram highlight reels.  Carefully staged pictures… alot of the time that picture of your child baking..what that snapshot doesn’t show is that your child got to mix that cake once so that every child in the group got to take a turn and the rest was watch time. Again not a teachers fault but ever increasing class sizes and reduced funding means this is becoming more of a reality. (Don’t get me started on teachers paying out of their own pockets to buy resources- been there done that! )

What has shocked me are the comments. .a place I’d said I’d never go. But it was not only joe public condemning her but also fellow  Home Educators. 

Fellow Home Educators who know how it feels to have the very decision to Home Educate questioned at every turn.To know how it is when you decided to ditch an activity and head to the park, to have that feeling the local LA bod is going to jump from  behind a bush with social services in tow and the fear of them threatening to take the kids (yes irrational thoughts but very real concerns in the beginning.) I get it I do .. as Home Educators we are constantly having to work hard for our existence. And proof of that is now more media coverage in The Times, Sky News  the bloody sun and its gone international.Not about how people Home Educate. But about its existence and whether it should be “allowed” at all. Personal scathing attacks of Katie herself as well as damning Home Education..they couldn’t get any home educators to take part in interviews or to use soundbites from. ..and they wonder why… because believe me being interviewed about how IT plays a part in your child’s education (as her blog post suggested days before the article was released) then for it to turn into this media shit storm ..well I’d be hiding too..
The second article I read today…again so different in tone and mood and quite a positive piece. 

HERE

From the same bloody paper in less than a few days…seriously!! 

But the reason I’ve mention this is that no one Home Education  family is the same as another. Our styles are different,  the way we decide to structure, semi structure or free range is a decision we make knowing our children. Making a decision of what is right for them because we know them best….and the ridicule that Katie Pybus has received from the Home Education community in my opinion is wrong!

Did I like the article? Hell no! it was a one sided piece of trash media. Its damned Home Education in one fell swoop feeding into the publics already negative image of it. But it gives no one the right to treat Katie Pybus the way she has been…our anger as a Home Educating community should be directed at the media and not her. Yes her article was a catalyst but it could have been anyone of us trying to raise the positive profile of Home Education. I do understand the anger… I ferl it too, I’m fuming at the direction this has taken.. a lot feel they have been “thrown under the bus” by her actions and I get that too but I think that our anger needs to be channelled positively. 

With all that said  I have a feeling that this won’t be the last we hear about Home Education  in the coming weeks.