Tuesday, 15 February 2011
is one of my best ever tunes. I just love it. Luckily so do the smalls and we often bounce around the kitchen to it together, go on, listen to it, even if you don't like jazz you might surprise yourself. It is a good title for this post because what we are up to is anything but ordinary. Of course, there are no reliable statistics for how many families have their children out of school, but even if there were, many of those would be home educating for a completely different set of reasons to us. I think it is safe to assume that less than 1% of the children in our local area are having a childhood like the gallivanters!
When I posted my first blog post "Growing brains" I had no idea that there was a body of academic literature on this subject and I am grateful to a lovely friend of mine for pointing it out to me. I shan't name her but I do think of her as a bit of a mentor as her smalls have grown and flown after a wonderful childhood of life learning. Here are a few of the hilights: Check out Wendy Preiesnitz if you are interested in Life Learning.
"When classrooms began taking up most of their daytime hours, children were no longer able to sustain their traditional unceasing liminal links to the community and ecology or exercise their customary spontaneity. And outside the school, they began to face competitive monetization of the economy and arbitrary law. Their traditional mental and behavioral habits began to change."
"As each successive class graduated from the school it intruded a bit more of the school’s ethos into a community hosting an increasingly competitive commercial economy." "With nourishment, comfort, and stimulation constantly on hand, infants did not have to wait helplessly to have their needs met. They had no emotional need to anchor their libidos to abstract concepts of time, place, or kinship; and abstract foundations of awareness such as these were not imprinted on their nascent consciousness." Both these quotes are from anthropologist Richard Sorenson
The full studies are very long and academic but what he saying really is that how we live now is not how all cultures live throughout the world nor how we have always lived throughout history of time.The complete separation of work and home happened with the industrial revolution. Agricultural machinery freed up farm workers to work in towns and so schools were built to prepare the next generation of workers and provide a place for children to go whilst their parents worked. Work no longer took place in the home but outside of the home.
To tell you more about the inner workings of my brain that you probably need to know when I was typing the first growing brains post in my mind I had a mental picture of the tefal heads from the 30 year old tefal television advertisements. Visualizing an actual part of the brain growing rather than neurons and pathways that the brain scans show! But, in the way that when you decided to buy a yellow car suddenly it seemed the most popular colour had become yellow, in the last few days I have noticed things on growing brains popping up all over the place. Including this amazing TED talk which I just listened to with my lovely Mum. Really interesting stuff about how babies learn language. When people ask me now why we are home educating I really don't know why to say, I haven't yet tried the answer "because I am growing brains in a free range way." Over the last six years the reasons have evolved and grown and are now really inseparable from us. "Ordinary Joes" are surprised enough to discover that my children don't go to school without me illuminating them on the shades of grey between: home schooling, unschooling, life learning and so on. I guess it's integral, the home, food and family is at the core. I feel that I understand enough of life to know that a successful academic performance is not always the route to a financially rewarding job for life and more over none of these things guarantee happiness which, is what is all must surely be about. I believe the the meritocracy of the education system is a myth. Overwhelming in England in 2010 the top jobs go to: white, middle class men who have a private school education and attended Oxbridge university. To say "work hard at school and you'll get a good job" is not strictly true in my opinion." In reality the education system perpetuates class divisions rather than erasing them. That maybe truer now than when I sat sociology "A" level 20 years ago. Life is not about arriving at the destination, we need to enjoy the journey, just like that sparrow wasting his time in the sky.