Wednesday, August 24, 2016

History of Education in Australia

Came across this article yesterday, when I was looking at one of my preferred home education magazine's "Otherways".  I was very interested to discover (and not surprised) that the segregation of families in Australia was deliberate due to the settlements being convict based. 

They also refer to South Australia in the article, in terms of absenteeisms, however I would be interested to know how the education philosophies varied there, as South Australia was the only part of Australia that was never a penal colony (interestingly many people outside of SA seem not to know this part of Australian history).  Certainly our experience of home education in South Australia and Western Australia has been significantly different.  With the SA community focusing on natural learning, and WA focusing on structured class opportunities.  Personally I'm in favour of a blend, but the focus needs to be on learning with the family, rather than being out every day at a class, at least til the children move into a more outward experience of the world, in my opinion.

It does seem to me that many of the local people (there are a significant amount of foreigners here) lack the inward confidence to be authorities in their own lives, and believe in the school system and what it offers, much more than the people we know from home educating in South Australia.  This has resulted in, what seems to me, an enormous range of organised class opportunities for home schoolers.  This  can be very positive, numerous opportunities to learn, with people with expertise, and surrounded by other home schoolers.  However this can turn into another form of school, where kids are dropped off to activities and parents are not involved in their child's education, and the children end up with the same issues of schooled kids (not looking adults in the eye, believing adults don't see them, not choosing to mix with kids outside their age range).  Of course schooled kids don't need to be like this either (it all really comes down to parent involvement.)  Since living in Perth we've met many home schooled young people with these school type issues, and it simply seems to me that their parent's are not raising them to be the authorities in their own lives, and maybe this history of convicts and education explains it a little.  After all, our stories create our cultures.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Children and Learning
One of the best articles I've read on education in a while; it's quite long, but worth it.

This is one of my favourite sections.
"Any wildlife biologist knows that an animal in a zoo will not develop normally if the environment is incompatible with the evolved social needs of its species. But we no longer know this about ourselves. We have radically altered our own evolved species behavior by segregating children artificially in same-age peer groups instead of mixed-age communities, by compelling them to be indoors and sedentary for most of the day, by asking them to learn from text-based artificial materials instead of contextualized real-world activities, by dictating arbitrary timetables for learning rather than following the unfolding of a child’s developmental readiness. Common sense should tell us that all of this will have complex and unpredictable results. In fact, it does. While some children seem able to function in this completely artificial environment, really significant numbers of them cannot. Around the world, every day, millions and millions and millions of normal bright healthy children are labelled as failures in ways that damage them for life. And increasingly, those who cannot adapt to the artificial environment of school are diagnosed as brain-disordered and drugged."

Although there are quite a few bit in it that I like.

Here is Carol Black's blog.  I haven't looked through it yet, but the article was taken from here.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Minimal Action

This week has been a bit light on our organised schoolwork, as people have been unwell.  Unusually for around here, I stayed well!  Which was lovely.

Arden and I have moved onto looking at how people dress, we started the week examining climates, and why people traditionally dressed differently around the world.  As part of this, we looked at various forms of twilight-civil, nautical and astronomical and how the lengths of twilight vary around the world.

Arden's diagram of the horizon and the angle's of the sun during twilight.

Arden working on cursive.

Our reading this week, something to complement reading the Little House Series, learning about how the cowboy's clothing and implements helped him survive.

Arden and I went to a woodwork class again, with Greg from the Joy of Wood.
We were learning to make a box with a sliding lid this time.

Arden's box.

My box.

Some cotton to live in my box.  (Arden still hasn't decided what he's using his for.)

Arden's free time woodwork; an axe.

Gabriel made some progress on reading this week, and his tie.  Arden got a little of his jammies pants done, and Willow has gotten back into stuff the last couple of days.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

John Taylor Gatto

I love this speech, and just thought it was worth sharing.  John Taylor Gatto is a brilliant teacher, and it would be amazing to see more people with the courage that he has to discuss the system and it's flaws openly.  If you check out the copyright at the end, this was presented back in 1990.  There's no way I was thinking of home ed, then.  I'm sure I probably thought it was weird, given that I was 16 and in year 11.

And another I just came across.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Cooking, Sewing and Painting mostly

Arden got back into cooking dinner this week.  Damien helped him to make slouvaki.

We went to a Chinese calligrapy exhibition;one-stroke calligraphy last weekend.  The exhibition and the philosophy were beautiful.  We're hoping to go to an ikebana demonstration that they are also doing, this week.  Arden and Gabriel both did some calligraphy printing whilst at the exhibition.  This is Arden's print.

 We did quite a bit of sewing this week.  Even Irving had a try.

Irving's stitching.

Arden's pyjamas.  We've pinned the legs together, and I overstitched the edges to strengthen them for him.

Gabriel's tie getting close to completion.

I started making a bag.

We finished Arden's block on the Bible Creation story.  Some paintings from this week.

Arden's painting.

My painting of humans being created.

Irving at work!

Arden's book put together.

We finished reading "Little House on the Prairie" this week, and Arden is all enthused for the next book, but I haven't got a copy of it yet.  I ordered a pattern for pants for Gabriel to sew, after he does a basic piece of sewing on the sewing machine, though he hasn't decided what to sew yet.  Willow had a meet and greet session for a youtube series that she's going to be in over the weekend, and finally we caught up on our meeting sessions with her.  We also all sat down to try a DVD learn to sing series this week (the name of it totally escapes me right now) but the techniques the guy was using reminded me of Michel Thomas.

Friday, August 5, 2016

5 Years in Perth

Since arriving here in 2011, Willow has been counting the years and reminding us, of the anniversary of our arrival every year.  This year, since it was "half a decade" as she put it, she was keen for us to have breakfast at Dome, as we did the year we arrived here.  So Tuesday morning we headed out early, so that Damien could arrive at work on time, and went for breakfast.  Only thing was, that pretty much everything went wrong!  Or at least on my and Damien's end of it.  Damien ended up mostly coated in milk and had to go home and get changed. Since Dome's service had been so average this time, we headed to a coffee shop in the Treasury Building, had a drink, and I picked up a rose, for Damien to cheer him up a bit, after the chaos of the morning!

 Arden and I have been reading the Bible, and creating a story book about God creating the world.

Arden's painting

My painting

I wasn't feeling the best yesterday, so to help me out, Gabriel painted with Arden.

Arden's painting

Gabriel's painting

 Arden has been working on modelling pyramids and prisms in his maths this week.

Gabriel's tie is getting closer to completion.

Arden and I planted some linseeds earlier in the year; these are the seed pods and a dried stalk.  The stalk would be used to make linen. 

Seeds removed from seed pods.

Enjoying homemade pumpkin pie over the weekend.

Gabriel has been working on finishing his essay comparing "Romeo and Juliet" and "Iolanthe" and is currently reading "Swiss Family Robinson".  He is moving on to history this semester (though we still have a few bits of science to finish off).  He is researching and writing about the history of transport, communities and communication.

Willow is back at musicianship classes this week, and has a welcome party for her next performance, which is a youtube series this weekend.   She has recently started using a music theory website to help her fine tune some of her aural music skills.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Creativity and Mistakes

Another of the speakers, at the TedX UWA event, that DH, Damien, was involved in, spoke about her journey from being correct to creative.

Correct to Creative

This is such an important part of education that I really wanted to share it here.  Some of the ideas that Anne-Marie shares were also part of Damien's talk,and I think as home educators we need to be conscious of the idea that learning is about exploring and that when exploring anything and everything is permissible.  I'm a big believer in the idea of failing faster, so that it's easier and faster to reach the point of success.  I think one of the many gifts that a home education can offer, is the ability to try all sort of things;activities, ideas, etc and not be judged.