Friday, 29 June 2012

An Example of Autonomous Self Directed Learning

So you might be reading our blog and thinking that a child wouldn’t learn anything unless they are made to in lesson? I thought like that too until we started to home educate and my children demonstrated to me that if I allow them to follow their interest (and facilitate their learning), then they can and will learn with a passion.

Here is one example of self directed autonomous learning.

Owen asked me “do animals have feelings?”. We looked up this topic on the internet and read about research into primate feelings, elephants who recognize the bones of their relatives and appear to grieve over the bones. We discussed the emotions of our pets. This led to a discussion on animal rights and conservation of animals. After this discussion Owen decided to adopt a Snow Leopard with £1 from his pocket money each week. After receiving this pack he went on to research endangered birds in the UK, red pandas, animals bought back from the brink of extinction and the categorization of endangered species. The discussion on red pandas also sparked a conversation about Fire Fox, internet browsers and internet politics including censorship of the internet in China.  All from one question!

How To Make a Water Rocket

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Borox Crystal Snowflakes

You will need:
  • string
  • large jar
  • pipe cleaners
  • food coloring (optional)
  • boiling water 
  • borax (available from Ebay)
  • pencil
Cut a white pipe cleaner into 3 equal sections. Twist the sections together in the center so that you have a "six-sided" star shape. If your points are not even, trim the pipe-cleaner sections to the same length. Now attach string to one of the star 'arms' and tie the other end to a pencil (this is to hang it from). Fill a  jar with boiling water. Mix borax into the water one tablespoon at a time. Use 3 tablespoons of borax per cup of water. Stir until the Boroax is  dissolved but don't worry if there is powder settling on the bottom of the jar. If you want you can add a little blue food coloring now to give the snowflake a bluish hue. Insert your pipe cleaner snowflake into the jar so that the pencil is resting on the lip of the jar and the snowflake is freely suspended in the borax solution. Wait overnight and by morning the snowflake will be covered with shiny crystals. 

Our took much longer than a day to form and were not perfect crystals!


Friday, 1 June 2012

Liberating Language

The way we use language can liberate parenting. The right kind of language can build self esteem, inspire confidence and encourage responsibility. I discovered that by modifying my language to deal with mishaps, 'misbehaviour' (a word I despise) and feelings resulted in dramatic changes in the reactions from my children. Here are some examples from Liberated Parents, Liberated Children:

 "the milk spilled, we need a sponge" instead of "now look what you did"

 "walls are not for writing on. Paper is for writing on" instead of "bad boy! No more crayons for you"

 "a scratch can hurt" instead of "stop crying. It's only a scratch"

 " I see a purple house, a red sun and a stripy sky" instead of "that painting is beautiful, you're a great artist". Praise is wonderful but where can a child go from 'beautiful' and 'great'. Words that evaluate hinder a child.