Sunday, 6 July 2014

How to master Home Education...

I love sailing and the sea.  The power and drama of the ocean, the tales of adventure at sea, the stories of explorers and pirates. I have sailed against spring tides, which makes you move backwards, I have landed on islands.
Spot me.

 I have raced in Tall Ships Races, been hit by line squalls. I have capsized, climbed rigging and been becalmed in the North Sea.

 I have done kayaking, rowing, motor boats; you get the picture, I LOVE water activities and the whole romance of the sea.

The sea is so majestic, I also collect picture of lighthouses with waves crashing against them, I am drawn to the sense of power. The sea changes with the tides, seasons, it is unpredictable and uncontrollable.

I was chatting with a friend today about how kids learn and I can't help going back to sea analogies. We discussed the fact that learning is not linear, you can't draw a nice straight line graph to plot your kids progress, its more like the waves of the sea, you have peaks of obvious progress and time when your child seems to resist all input, like the sea with drawing from a beach. This all seems to change with the seasons. Its not something you can predict or control.

What if you have a course set, you have a particular heading in mind, like reaching the coast of Finland from England and you have to contend with the sea and its moods. 

Sailors have to understand how to harness the wind, and consider the tides. When sailing in to the wind you can't sail in the direction you want to go, you have to tack, zig zag slowly towards the heading. This is what we need to do as Home Ed. parents, we have to understand that changing direction, doesn't mean we are not progressing, if for a time our child was enjoying and learning well  from a particular maths course, but suddenly loses all interests, its ok. Just change tack, turn your boat, find a different ways to love maths, go outside and count cars, or cut up apples to understand division. Its ok to change tack, you are still heading on the same course, just adapting to the wind and sea. 

There are times when you can be sailing hard on a 'reach' here is a video of someone doing this, the wind is behind you and pushes you forward, its a great feeling, but if the tide should change and its a spring tide you can be sailing hard forwards at the same time as being pushed backwards by the water, you make little or no progress, or even move backwards. A spring tide is very powerful. The only way to deal with this is get a tow or change direction and land somewhere else.

I think this is like when you feel that sense of progress with the kids and suddenly you get that phone call informing you that your landlord wants to sell the house you are living in, or that someone you love is suffering and needs you. Get a tow, or pull in. When we had to move house, actually 3 times in 5 years, we had to change tack every time, so we decided the best learning for the kids was experiencing the whole house move process, so we took them to solicitors we showed the how we searched for houses, looked around houses and dealt with estate agents.

I will always love the sea and its defiance of man's designs to master it. I think we need to relax and go with the wind and tide with learning and just know, you can't master it, but you can ride the wave.


  1. Absolutely spot on! Well written :) xx

  2. Lovely:) home-ed is fluid and flexible - we can adapt quickly to changing interests and isn't that wonderful?
    Thanks so much for linking up # homeedlinkup