This week I joined a new facebook group on freedom in education. It popped up as a suggested group for me and as I miss hanging out with other Home Educators in real life I thought I’d hang out with some online. Some of my best friends are fellow Home Educators but we have all been friends a long time, some of them have chosen school, pretty much all of us are secure in our educational choices and it tends to not be something we talk about any more – just the common factor which brought us together in the first place but long since lost as shared memories and years of friendship take over as the reason we are in contact.
Interestingly I have not really contributed to any discussions about Home Education but have had several chats about island life, WWOOFing, traveling and our general lifestyle. Also this week I answered some FAQs about Life On Rum for a website and I spent some real life time with one of our newest residents so have been doing lots of talking about what it’s like to live here rather than anything to do with Home Education.
I actually often forget we Home Educate as it has long since ceased to be the interesting thing about our family to outsiders and it has faded into one of the many things we do as a family which makes us us rather than the single defining thing. Davies and Scarlett are constantly learning but in the same way as Ady and I are rather than any contrived, planned manner.
This week I have been learning more about cob house building, I had my first go on a spinning wheel and I learnt how to knit a sock. Ady has been researching how to provide heating, hot water and cooking for a small cob dwelling using wood rather than bottled gas or other fossil fuels. All self directed and driven by a need or a desire to learn. Davies and Scarlett’s learning is driven by the same motivators – a need or a desire. I can’t list everything they have learnt this week or even all the methods by which they have learned in just the same way as I would struggle to do so for myself – I know there have been external inputs such as radio, books, the internet – some accidental stumbling upon, some deliberate research. There has been chance encounters with people, conversation, incidents and happenings. Our children learn in the same way that we do, by living alongside us and dealing with things as they come up. There will be gaps certainly, but they will be filled as and when necessary by either necessity or curiosity.
I do know that this week Davies completed a book for Scarlett as a valentines gift (we ignored the romantic love association and all gave each other gifts on St Valentines Day – a mix of handmade and shop bought) and a comic strip to go in the island newsletter, he made a birthday card and used his initiative when the wind turbine was spinning so fast it overloaded the battery and he had to work out what to do as we were all out.
I know that Scarlett spent time coming up with ideas for gifts for everyone and then set about making them – Davies got chocolates, I got a handcarved dibber complete with Mummy carved into the handle and Ady got a catapault for shooting at crows, again handcarved and decorated. She also made treats for Bonnie and Humphrey (her hamster), worked out how old Humphrey is in hamster years, came to work with me and insisted on working out all of the change to give people from the till in her head. She also struck a deal with the shop owner to earn a little walnut deer head badge that she had been coveting.
If necessity is the mother of invention then maybe curiosity should be the mother of education…