Wrote the last post yesterday and forgot to publish it. Ah, well, on to today.
Got up very late. Thinking of pretending the “get up early” New Year resolution was only pretend. Had to spend the morning still working on an unexpected deadline, so home ed didn’t begin until the afternoon. Emily grudgingly did some maths – some sort of data handling thing, not exactly brain taxing – and then, distinctly less grudgingly begged to do some more violin 🙂 – so we did. She’s really enthusiastic with the violin and has taken to it so far. Today we moved on to the first set of fingered notes as opposed to the open strings. It still sounds – ahem – interesting, thanks to our combined lack of musical ear and the dodgy D string, but that’s not putting her off too much and she’s doing really well both with the actual violin itself and with the reading music bit 🙂 🙂 🙂 Am v.v. pleased.
As to the experimentation of the title: well, New Year, new way of doing home ed. I’m beginning to think that we’ll probably have figured out the ideal method by the time Emily turns 18. If we’re lucky.
I really need some more time to work on my writing, and I think Emily needs to learn some self discipline and self motivation when it comes to home ed. My astoundingly brilliant and well thought out solution will be trialled imminently. We’ve decided that Emily will spend the mornings downstairs with me (and Lulu….) working on “things which need working on together”. During the afternoons, she will work on her own on assignments set by me, more research based and involving some actual brain power.
The plan is to organise this a bit like homework from school (don’t scream, laugh or groan) – in as much as Emily will have a set amount of things to complete, over different subjects, during the week, but it will be up to her to pace herself to get things done. She’s due to be getting a new desk and chair for her bedroom very shortly, which together with her Christmas laptop and birthday printer should be all she needs to set up a little study area there. She’s very keen on that part of the idea. She’s less keen on the actually doing work part of the idea 😉
In theory, this will both a) free up my time, b) promote some independence in Emily’s learning and c) teach some self-discipline, as already stated above. In practice, it still demands a lot of my time to identify and set work ahead of time. In practice, more to the point, it requires a self motivated child. Don’t get me wrong – Emily can be highly motivated and has the longest attention span I’ve ever known of a child….when she wants to have. She’s written books worth of notes on subjects she’s passionate about, in her own time, and has taught herself a huge amount about politics, IT, photography economics and various other passions. She’s devoured adult fiction at an alarming rate of knots. She’s a gifted artist, a talented writer, and able to draw intelligent, logical conclusions on a wide range of topics. She’s also capable of making a simple set of three easy maths problems last well over an hour, of forgetting the most basic of history or science facts, and has been known to take three hours to write three paragraphs and perform a hissy fit when it doesn’t fit with her idea of what she wants to be doing.
However, before anyone says that she sounds like the ideal candidate for self-led, autonomous education – no, she isn’t. She’s the ideal candidate for self-led, autonomous education in her fields of particular interest on her day and when she’s in the mood. It’s my job to fill in the gaps and gaps, dear reader, there are many. The autonomous side of things will continue in Emily’s own time as it always has and no doubt always will – but the structured side of education needs some – well, structure. I’m not a tiptoe through the hippy daisies, cross fingers and hope it will turn out alright type person and I regard my daughter’s education as too important to “hope she’s in the right mood for long enough”.
The most annoying thing is that I think it will be down to me if this latest idea fails – down to me not planning work ahead, not making the work interesting enough (just because I believe in a structured education doesn’t mean I believe in boredom) or just not getting my act together enough. By and large, Emily always accomplishes what she’s supposed to accomplish, sometimes willingly, sometimes joyfully, sometimes grumpily, but it happens. If it doesn’t happen this time round, it will be my fault (again), not hers.