We have no pupils here. Just three lovely young people and one particularly little person (who, of course, is also lovely).
But I just adore this quote and feel it sums up our approach to home education nicely.
Often when out and about during school hours a friendly stranger will ask, ‘No school today?’. When we explain that we home educate, sometimes they will ask the children if I teach them. This used to prompt a quizzical look from one or other of them but now they are used to it. Their response to the question varies.
Often it’s framed as more of a rhetorical question anyway, ‘Oh so your mum teaches you’, in which case they may just smile and nod or shrug their shoulders with a ‘Sort of’ type reply. Some days with some people they might be happy to enter in to a longer conversation explaining that we learn together in many different ways.
Some people may have a vision of me, standing up at the chalkboard we have in our dining-room, each morning starting class and offering long explanations of complicated maths concepts. In fact that does happen – the use of the chalkboard for explaining maths, that is, not the starting class bit! But only if someone requests it, and even then it’s actually more likely to be sophofbread that will take that role, she loves to cement her own learning by explaining it to the rest of us and there is usually someone willing to listen.
The truth is that home education, for us, is much more about facilitating learning than about teaching. We all learn so much from each other in so many ways, each and every day.
We love working on projects together, reading together, playing together and regaling each other with all the latest information about whatever is our current passion (apologies to our dear ArtyB, we know our enthusiasm for ‘Po Go’ can be a little wearing at times -SOB and MLEG x).
My role is, not to teach, but to support my children with learning.
As Einstein so beautifully put it, providing the conditions in which they can learn.
Ensuring that their physical needs are met, they feel safe and secure in their home and have the resources and opportunities to explore the world in many different ways.
Offering them support and guidance to explore existing passions and strewing their paths with possibilities, options and chances for new and interesting directions of learning to open up.
Of course, I do love to share the benefit of my own experience and knowledge when it seems relevant (don’t we all?) but never with the assumption that it has more significance than that of their own.
The learning journey is a personal one for all of us and we can never really be sure of what someone else has learnt. Home education offers a wonderful opportunity to enjoy that journey together.