The fundamental principles of our educational approach is influenced by studying the many and varied books and articles currently in the public domain, written by a variety of authors including Jan Fortune-Wood, John Taylor Gatto, Linda Dobson, Ken Robinson, Harriet Pattison and A S Neill, and also the huge body of information currently available about home-based education on the internet. Therefore, our elective home-based education has developed into a whole life learning approach which is directed and regulated by Owen and Anya. Learning takes place all the time naturally and continually in the home and community environment.
We encourage lots of verbal interaction and think that this is one of the most valuable aspects of our educational provision. Warm, responsive communication enables Owen and Anya to share their interests, news, information and ideas and gives them opportunities to express their needs and desires and explore their interest. Practicing empathic listening and active attention allows us to be alert to Owen and Anya's affective and cognitive needs, in order that they may be supported and nourished. It is often through explanation of a concept, discussion of an area of interest, or simple communication of information that Owen and Anya are able to assimilate and internalise newfound knowledge. Additionally simple conversations often sparked by seemingly unimportant events can lead to the deepest philosophical discussions, debates and areas of research or can simply in an instant cause one or both parties to find instant clarity of thought. Whilst encouraging verbal interaction in an atmosphere of mutual respect we also facilitate space for quiet contemplation where Owen and Anya can develop ideas and concepts at their own speed. We aim to enable Owen and Anya to foster the confidence to ask questions of whomever, wherever and wherever. If questions are asked of others, or us, which cannot be immediately answered we endeavour to develop skills and strategies to find ways of shedding light on these problems. Owen and Anya's questioning, their making sense of the world, as it directly relates to them, forms the very foundation of their learning. Owen and Anya lead their education in the direction that they need to take it in order to find out what they need or want to know.
Our home-based education allows for a high degree of flexibility and spontaneity. This ensures that we can meet Owen and Anya's needs in an extremely efficient way, which we would be unable to do if constrained by rigid timetables or subject boundaries. As they are intellectually motivated by their natural curiosity, they are able to pursue work that is meaningful to them. This very creative process allows Owen and Anya to satisfy their need for knowledge within any given area; they are able to fuse one piece of knowledge to another without the artificial limitations of a predestined journey into a specific area in isolation. Similarly Owen and Anya's 'work' is produced not for the fulfilment of others, but for the fulfilment of self. This ensures there is no pressure on Owen and Anya to 'perform' as we believe this would interfere with the natural learning process. One outcome of producing work for the fulfilment of others, especially where a value judgement will be forthcoming, is a natural tendency to stick to known areas of competency, stifling learning and creativity.