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Learning all the Time · Saturday January 31, 2009 by Christine

by Christine

I’ve taken the title of John Holt’s book as the title of today’s blog. It was a Christmas present from my parents in law and emphasised so much how children learn through everything they experience in their lives.

I’ve seen so much proof of this with Christopher over the last two years (is it really that long?) that I have a deep unease at leaving my other children (without special needs) in mainstream school where the curriculum is so narrow and opportunities to explore so limited. I have reservations that I don’t know what they’re learning at school and how they are coping and I worry that the eldest (who is good at art ,drama and ICT) will see his self esteem disappearing as he struggles to keep up with his peers in English and maths because he finds it hard to get his ideas down on paper quickly enough.

Only today my eldest son Thomas burst into the house having spent an ’”awesome’ afternoon, off roading with his friend’s dad in his landrover, quadbiking , and discussing motor cross and I thought ‘That’s what I want him to feel about school’.

Although I occasionally worry that I’m not teaching Christopher (my home educated son with Aspergers) enough as I work part time, he never ceases to amaze me with his knowledge.

Only the other day my husband said he’d noticed how Christopher has started to take control of his own time when I’m at work, reading books, watching documentaries,practising his drums. This is the son who suffers from Oppositional defiant disorder and refuses to comply with authority at school!

He was in his room the other day drawing and I asked if I could look at his picture, he had LOADS of them which he had obviously been drawing over a matter of weeks, detailed pictures of the hotel we are staying in on holiday, the music shop, me in the supermarket, a war game he intends to design…so much creativity and imagination.

Then one day he asked where Sicily was. I explained it was an island off the bottom of Italy.Two weeks later he rushed through to the kitchen to say he’d worked out where it was now as he’d seen a map on the television and could visualise it. And today he was discussing Japan’s involvement in WW2. My husband told him Japan only became involved after the Americans bombed some of their ships. My son replied ‘Oh at Pearl Harbour you mean?’- He is eight years old!

I have to make a decision about home education for my other children. We were forced into it, we had no choice.What we didn’t know was how wonderful it is. It’s fun, it makes learning real, and it fosters the idea that education isn’t just about school, it’s about life and it never ever stops once you’ve got the bug!

All I need to do now is go for it…watch this space!

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Onwards and Upwards!

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