Educational Philosophy 2013
Re: Children's names and DoB
Our educational approach is based on our belief that each child deserves an education specifically tailored to their strengths, weaknesses and interests. To be of any real use this needs to be flexible, responsive, and supportive, taking direct account of how those points change and develop over time, and aware of where the child is educationally at that moment. This means that we do not plan our education months in advance, because to do so would ignore the individual child’s response to their education. Where the child has difficulty, work is at a slower pace, where the child excels work is faster, to attempt to predict this would undermine the child’s innate motivation, and potentially instil either insecurity (“they think this is easy?”) or overconfidence (“they think this is hard?”), neither of which is desirable. We use a mixture of directed learning - primarily using workbooks and worksheets covering Math. Science and English skills - and discovery based learning, following an interest expressed by the child and exploring the subject as far as they wish.
Our primary objective remains to enable each of our children to investigate their own fields of interest, thereby encouraging them to discover innate aptitudes, abilities and strengths, whilst supporting the development of literacy and numeracy skills, and knowledge of the world around them.
As stated previously, we use a balance of directed learning - using workbooks, worksheets and CD-ROMs primarily covering English and Maths and science – and discovery based learning, following an interest expressed by one of our children as far as they wish, nurturing it by using books, the internet, DVD’s, television documentaries and educational visits to extend our knowledge of the subject, and using activities to consolidate the learning. We continue to find that what starts as an interest expressed by one child soon becomes an interest shared by all, and they work together well. We also find that projects soon expand well beyond the initial parameters and are far broader and deeper than envisaged at their inception.
All of our children have access to a wide range of resources including a computer with internet access and interest specific software; the public library; a wide range of books at home; TV programmes; audio equipment; visits and outings that support their interests; continuous support, positive interest and encouragement both from us and members of our extended families.
We attend various home education groups, including a ranger led park group, book club, roller-skating, multi-sports and hall based meetings.
We continue to network with other Home Educators in the Northamptonshire area, as well as offering other social opportunities to our children with a broad range of school-educated children, home educated children and family members.
Overall we intend to encourage their interests by providing a varied and stimulating environment, whilst maintaining a degree of directive input - in order to maintain a balance of learning - by ensuring that attractive opportunities are presented across an appropriate range of areas.
We believe that we are providing a personalised education that will ensure our children gain attitudes, skills and knowledge that fit them to live in, and adapt to the challenges of, a rapidly changing world. This broad education introduces our children to skills relating to, and knowledge of, both a wide range of subjects and varied types of subject and therefore ensures an opening of the mind, without compartmentalising learning by breaking it up into artificially narrow areas. This balanced education aims to ensure that no one “subject area” takes up so much time that there is no room for others by incorporating cross curricular projects, along side a variety of approaches to specific subjects.
We also believe that by ensuring our children see us (their parents) learning about the world around us as an on going process that we enjoy, they will understand that learning is a life-long process to be valued and enjoyed, rather than a race to be endured whilst they are young. Equally we hope that by seeing that we, their parents, do not know everything but are willing and able to find out, they will learn that it is OK to not know, and they will learn how to find out. Part of this process is teaching them to use reference books and the internet to find information, and then evaluate it for accuracy and bias. As use of the internet continues to evolve we believe that the ability to evaluate information critically is enormously important.