Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Home Education

Birdgirl caught up on some home education today. She was withdrawn from school a couple of weeks before Easter until September and is being home educated during this period. Part of our motivation for this trip (as well as increasing our world lists) was to stimulate and satiate Birdgirl’s desire to learn. She has been doing very well in school but the downside has been that she hasn’t had to push herself too much. For this reason, her head-teacher and form teachers were really positive about her missing school to go on the trip.

As well as formal subjects, we have been trying to help her question and learn from seeing, experiencing and talking about the world around her.  For example, she is never going to forget that the boiling point of water at 5,000m is around 80 degrees.  It helps that she is interested in nature and the environment. 

Apparently the downside for her is spending so much time with her parents, so no time on her own doing things she shouldn’t (like staying up late reading with a torch). At age 10, it is certainly not normal to spend 24 hours a day for 6 months with your parents! I really do think it has been great for her education, experience of life and for our relationships. She has commented a few times that although we were her parents, she did not really know us when we were at work.

Birdgirl is really interested in ancient civilisations and so has loved learning about Inca and Pre-Inca civilisations.  We have a few days off on this trip and will be visiting Machu Picchu and museums in Lima and Cusco.  Egypt, Greece and Italy are next on her list of places she wants to visit.

Birdgirl is an avid reader and has to be prised away from her Kindle on a regular basis.  Today she read one of the “What Katy Did” books and the first part of “Anne of Green Gables”, both downloaded this week for free (her favourite type of book).  She has three stories on the go, as well as a couple of songs.  It is difficult to make her finish things, as she loses confidence and then stops.  I am determined to help her overcome this and finish her stories, songs and poems before returning to school.  She loves science and is keen to study and discuss topics with Chris, who is a good teacher (though nothing compared to Digby who is exceptional)

Although it seems mad to some people, I am really glad that we planned our breaks back home in between trips.  As well as seeing our older daughter and young granddaughter, Birdgirl has been able to spend time with her friends, going back into school a few lunchtimes, going to her out of school activities (ballet, tap, modern, piano) and having her friends over to stay.  Her teachers and classmates’ parents have told us that the children have missed Birdgirl and this has made her feel secure in her friendships. 

Peru has been particularly good for regular internet and so Birdgirl has been having almost daily exchanges of e-mails with her friends, keeping her up-to-date with news and chat.  She has definitely missed her friends and is now starting to look forward to returning to school in September.  It will be interesting to see how she feels once she has been back at school for a month, as child guided learning is very different to what she will be going back to.  She is planning a birding trip to Thailand for half-term!

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