I didn’t get out that much as planned, but I did have a little Home Ed moment this weekend!
My youngest popped back from Uni to do some more photography shoots and I got dragged out onto the marshes as tripod caddy. I say dragged – I love it really, even if the wind was so strong we could hardly stand up let alone keep the tripod still.
Doing this kind of stuff again reinstates the kind of energy and awe you can lose when you think you’ve seen it all before. You won’t have – there’s always new stuff to discover.
I was just as excited – still – by the acres of space and sky and landscape now seen through a photographer’s eyes. Just as excited to try and identify all kinds of bits and bones, and which creature they came from, that were extracted from the owl pellet we found. Excited to investigate the strandline and pounce on the treasures in it.
Maybe not so excited by the stink of the dead things brought home for further study. But if you want to know about the world you have to explore the world, even the bits we are conditioned to recoil from. They’re sometimes the more interesting for being previously disregarded, but you have to retain an open mind.
Parenting from the point of ‘don’t touch’ or ‘don’t do that you’ll get dirty’ or ‘that’s disgusting, leave it alone’ was never my style.
Obviously some things don’t need to be touched, sometimes you need your children not to get dirty, and they can at times be disgusting!
But too often we stop kids from discovering their world out of habit or convention or saying what we’ve heard others say (our own parents) without thinking.
Most things need exploring and investigating, certainly explaining, however unappealing. How else do we get to understand our world and the things around us? This is the foundation of science, how all great scientists make their discoveries, by wondering about stuff. Messing in it if necessary. Asking questions, trying things out, getting it wrong but understanding it better because of it.
For example the programme Springwatch often investigates ‘signs of life’, poo included, to help us further our understanding of the natural world!
And as another Home Ed friend said to me recently; children are natural scientists, they are inquisitive and curious. We have to encourage that all we can.
When education gives children the chance to do these things, not only does it enhance and develop their learning practises, it also maintains their interest and awe in learning. And it’s that interest and awe, their sense of investigation and excitement about the world and its potential, that keeps their motivation to learn going far more effectively than any academic means. Thus a learning way of life is created that progresses and grows as they do. Education and life become so intermingled it becomes a way of living, living an educative life, just because they love it.
Just like we were doing this weekend.