Thursday, 26 June 2014

How much is enough?

I've just been captured, for the millionth time, by facebook and by general browsing, and I've come to the conclusion that a lot of folks who home educate have the same question.

"Is my child doing enough?"

Or, put another way, "Is my child being lazy and not completing what he or she should be?"

Or, "How much is enough work? How much should Bub be doing?"

We're all conscious of time and the 'achievements' not only of our own children, but the neighbours' and our children's friends and, well, anyone really.

Odd, isn't it?

When you do accept that children are the most amazing beings who are learning during their waking periods and, probably, during sleep times too, then that question isn't worth asking.

Your child, my child, anyone's child has an internal set-up of his or her own. You can't hurry love, as the song would have it, but you can't hurry learning either. It happens naturally, when the individual is ready or when the time is right. As a facilitator of learning, you can have all the pieces of the jigsaw present, but you
cannot force the person to put it together. The learner is the best arbiter of his or her learning.

Education is free in that way. We all learn something when the time is right. We all learn what we need to when we should.

Any force or coercion in teaching or learning is not only trying to control the learner, but it's counterproductive.Everyone has that secret hate: the dumb Physical Education lessons, the extra hard Maths that you failed because you didn't 'get' the previous step.

So how much is enough? It's a meaningless question.

Whatever you do is enough. If it's right for the learner, the learning will always be enough.

Saturday, 14 June 2014


I am mindful that I haven't posted for some time.

We have suffered loss.

Our lives have changed irrevocably.

We are saddened. We are shocked.

We are studying mindfulness.

"After three years of study, the novice monk arrives at the dwelling of his teacher. He enters the
room, bursting with ideas about knotty issues of Buddhist metaphysics, and well-prepared for
the deep questions that await him in his examination.

'I have but one question,' his teacher intones.

'I am ready, master,' he replies.

'In the doorway, were the flowers to the left or to the right of the umbrella?'

The novice retires, abashed, for three more years of study."

Mindfulness is attention to the present moment.

If you don't pay attention to the 'now',  what will you learn?

Quotation from the amazing book Authentic Happiness by Martin E. P. Seligman

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Fifth Discipline

It's a book. The Fifth Discipline.

Published in 1990, and it's about business. And life.

A lot that goes on in business also goes on in life.

Here's a quote from The Fifth Discipline:

"Learning any new language is difficult at first. But as you start to master the basics, it gets easier.
Research with young children has shown that many learn systems thinking remarkably quickly. It appears
that we have latent skills as systems thinkers that are undeveloped, even repressed by formal education
in linear thinking."

What is systems thinking?

Again, from that book:

"The essence of the discipline of systems thinking lies in a shift of mind:

*seeing interrelationships rather than linear cause-effect chains, and
*seeing processes of change rather than snapshots

Things aren't always straight-forward. Learning isn't. Life isn't.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Local authorities who want to monitor home educators

More than 360,000 children are injured in school each year
450,000 children are bullied in school EACH WEEK
16 children commit suicide each year because of school bullying
An estimated 1 million children truant each year
1 in 6 children leave school unable to read, write or add up

And local authorities want to monitor home educators?

I don't think so.

Figures from 

Saturday, 22 February 2014

On Knowledge

"Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad."

Miles Kington (1941-2008), journalist. Quoted in Woman's Weekly, 11 February 2014.

That seems to encapsulate for me the difference between schooling and home education.

Home educators have the time and the space to develop wisdom.

Friday, 24 January 2014

I bet you thought I'd gone

I haven't.

Here's a thought from Augustine of Hippo that I came across while wandering around on a forum discussing money.

"In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity."

Not a bad maxim to live by..

Sunday, 17 November 2013


It's probably something you've all realised, but home education is a natural extension of the family and day to day life.

It takes effort to pack one or more children off to the care (sometimes dubious) of schoolkeepers.

It's natural to flow through a day as if there is no curriculum, and, actually, in our house, there hasn't been one at all.

To me, curricula are forms of control. Someone somewhere has decided what all children will be taught and will (not necessarily) learn.

How do we choose what we want to learn, how do we choose how we want to learn?

Natural questions that rise up as we breast the waves of the day.

I would rather trust my children's instincts as to where they will spend their time (and it is their time) and their energy (and that energy can be stolen by society rules) than think that strangers - strangers, moreover, who have probably moved on from the education system - will be telling my children what to do every day.

And what to think.

I find it infuriating when outsiders try to say that children are indoctrinated by their home educating parents. It's rather two-faced to have a curriculum that denies choice to every schoolchild then complain that non-schoolers are being taught what parents want to teach.

The pot and kettle are both vying for the title of 'deepest shade of black'.

As a young person, when you leave school your day might well revert to your control so why do parents not allow children to control and manage their days as soon as they can?