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Old 03-09-10, 14:55
cazmumto4 cazmumto4 is offline
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Default child led or structured?

As we are about to start out on our HE journey I wondered if anyone had any advice for someone freaking out now that its 'real'. We are going for a more scheduled approach as thats what I believe to be best for our family. I will be mixing it up a bit and going to museums and having a certain degree of freedom. We started with some small bits of the basics yesterday and today and I had some issues with helping my son with his maths,which I am crap at.What do you do in this kind of situation? It has put me on a bit of a downer and making me worry. Any words of wisdom or just plain encouragement would be greatly appreciated!!! thank you
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Old 03-09-10, 16:50
Diane Diane is offline
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Hi Caz,

Don't worry too much. Just let your son help you with day to day Maths. You know, ask him to weigh and measure and calculate how much you're going to have to pay. Perhaps give him the money and ask him to check the change. All the things we have to do with Maths every day, not those useless extras that the school throws at children.

Relax and be with your son doing ordinary stuff. You'll be fine.
Children learn whatever you do or don't do, and, if they want to know more, they question you or other people.

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Old 03-09-10, 16:52
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How old is your son and what sort of maths were you tackling?

Problem solving and learning together are all part and parcel of home ed, so don't panic when you get stuck with something (we all get stuck sometimes), just find out how to solve it using the internet or the tongue in your head to ask someone more au fait with the subject. You will find most people very willing to help.

My eldest did advanced maths, which was way beyond me, but there was always someone to ask how to tackle a particular stumbling block and I learned a lot myself in the process. I even discovered that trigonometry actually had a point, something which had eluded me during the six years of tedium I spent in my secondary school maths classes.

When it came to IT, I really struggled to keep up with my son who started messing about with computers at the age of seven and had left all of us well behind by the time he was eight. All he needed was for us to provide the resources and he always had a list of needs and wants (books, software, hardware) to help further his knowledge. When he was about 10, he found himself an online mentor (a professor at Atlanta University) who encouraged him to pursue his interest in network security and hacking. He is now doing it for a living part time while completing his degree.

What I'm trying to say is that you don't need to know more than your child about every subject; rather your role is to provide the necessary resources and enlist some help if you need it from other people, including friends, family and members of the wider community who are usually more than willing to share their knowledge, skills and expertise with someone who is interested in learning.

Try not to panic, think of the process as more about 'facilitating' rather than 'teaching' as in school, shout on the forums if you get stuck with a particular problem, and most importantly, enjoy the ride!
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Old 03-09-10, 17:37
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Elaine Kirk Elaine Kirk is offline
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.
And don't forget we are never too old to learn. I have learnt so much through learning alongside daughter when she has taken an interest in a subject of which I knew little.
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Old 03-09-10, 17:46
cazmumto4 cazmumto4 is offline
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Thanks everyone! I was helping him with multiplication and struggling to explain it as he was taught a different way to me. It doesnt help matters that there's 3 other little people at the table all asking for my attention! Think its just 2nd day nerves! One thing my husband said was if he really needs the answer as an adult he can use a calculator! This is true but if he later on decides to sit GCSE maths then he will need to know how to work things out! Think I just need to chill a bit1 THanks everyone for your swift replies.x ps he is 11 and has cystic fibrosis, which is why we took him out of school, due to the lack of support. thanks again.x
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Old 03-09-10, 18:59
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Hi! One thing I've noticed is that many new home edders (particularly if their child was at school for a while) panic and try to impose a structure similar to school, through fear of 'falling behind'. I know I did! And I still panic at the beginning of every school term! There's nothing wrong with taking time out from formal lessons. Let him hang round with you, get him to help you with budgeting, planning the decorating of his room, weighing ingredients and so on. When you look back you'll surprise yourself with how much he's picked up without being taught a thing!

Hmm, maybe I should take my own advice, eh?
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Old 04-09-10, 07:39
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One idea is to have a period of deschooling.
So you put aside some time to just be and play, rather than focusing on education.
This can help everyone get used to being together, and it also helps give you some experience of child-led approach before you move on to more structured work. That way you are better able to pick your own balance of child-led and parent-led.

Another thing to remenber is how little concentrated learning time an individual child gets in school - take away breaks, settling down in class, teacher's attention divided between 30 pupils.

It can also be useful to to keep a diary for yourself - listing what you have done. And maybe list it's academic outcomes. So cookery - measuring, division, chemistry etc.
Over a period of time you can then see what you are doing together spontaneously and then see if you think areas need to be more adult-led or whether you are actually covering the material anyway without being aware of it.
It can also give you an idea of what your child actually already knows and what gaps there are.

Maths is an interesting area - there is some evidence to suggest that children's mental maths can be way ahead of written maths. That although a child may be able to do a sum in his head as soon as it becomes a written question it becomes much harder.
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Old 04-09-10, 08:34
karenc karenc is offline
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Default You're not alone!

I too had a panic the first week that I should follow school structure and was failing, however my son started asking questions that means we are much more child led as I run with his interests first then go back to text books again for prompting. I realise that in a school setting his questions would probably have gone unanswered. Great advice from the experienced home eds, Thanks. Karen
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Old 04-09-10, 09:07
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We set my two a chapter of a science book to read and about four questions to answer on the first day of home schooling. My youngest, about nine at the time, looked up at me and said, "I didn't come out of school just to answer questions."

That brought me out of my school of thought and ever after we have been autonomous home educators (and that includes me as well).

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Old 04-09-10, 13:36
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Thanks for the question, Caz. It only bugs me when I give in to that schooled impulse to seek affirmation of my own whatever...worth? success? sadly I still often confuse the two!! (I got a lot of certificates at school: not the best way to teach someone how to value their self-worth)

Now we please ourselves. If we feel that we've achieved something, we decide how we'd like to celebrate it. Sometimes we celebrate what seems to be the smallest thing, and the biggies go by almost unnoticed.

I've started looking at areas that we could cover, especially in terms of a chosen curriculum, and then set out to find ways to incorporate individual interests. For instance: the boys love Buzz, so we travel to loads of different planets, in our galaxy and in other universes (discovered by our imaginary space probe and Wall-E)...this isn't study at all, this is discovery. Our learning experience is all play, even listening to a story is dramatic; we all play different parts. They learn all the time, and it helps when I stop to remind myself that they are their own best teachers. I often discover that they've remembered and understood things that I mentioned with absolutely no intention to educate, things said in passing, bits of information gathered along the way.

Last edited by banshee; 04-09-10 at 13:40.
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autonomous education , community education , home education , personalised education , self directed learrning

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