My last couple of blogs have been a bit ‘bookish’. Don’t get me wrong, I adore books. I adore them so much that all my bookcases were packed double deep (until they went into storage) and I refer to books as ‘my babies’. It’s just that it seems a bit of a misrepresentation. We read everyday as part of our bedtime routine. We’re nearing the end of the ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy by Philip Pullman. This epic story centered around the feisty 12 year old Lyra, and later on her brave and gentle companion Will, spanning many worlds has been part of our lives for a long time and I’ll be sad to see them go. Anyway, as I was saying, this blog isn’t going to be about books, but clearly as I love them so much it will be a little bit about books after all!
Despite the epic bedtime sagas, books do not feature very strongly in our educational repertoire. I think this only struck home recently when I was chatting to one of Jessy’s teachers from Wood School. Her children go to school, where as many of the children at Wood School are home educated. Some are flexi-schooled. I’m guessing that the parents have diverse approaches to what they would like their children to gain from Wood School. My approach is that I am happy for him to be in an environment where his autonomy is respected, where I know he will be spoken to with respect and treated with respect by the adults around him. I appreciate the fact that interesting activities are on offer, but I am content for Jessy to choose what he does while he’s there. From all reports, what he mostly likes to do is run around with sticks and play imagination games. Wrestling and play fighting with other boys features too.
So the teacher was interested in our autonomous approach and asked what we got up to. “Oh lots!” I replied enthusiastically. I decided to go through our week to give her a quick idea:
“On Monday he goes to Wood School where he mostly runs around.
On Tuesday we sometimes go to a Steiner Kindergarten where he loves running around and playing.
On alternate Wednesdays we go to Adventure playground where he… runs around with his friends.
On Thursday he’s at Wood School where he…. er…… runs around …
and every other Friday we go climbing where he CLIMBS!”
I was so pleased to have a variation on the theme come Friday that I failed to notice that climbing is a bit like running, only upwards. I sighed. There was a slightly uncomfortable silence. I laughed and said “Ah well, he seems to be learning everything somehow!” The amazing thing is that he really does!
There you have it. In a nutshell. Our Autonomous Education Programme is: Mostly running around!