Mud walls and exhibitions

In our garage there was a little ship and other models, some Lego and K’nex constructions, some pottery, lots of paintings and drawings, some hand-made jewellery and sewing, other craftwork, and the word ‘welcome’ chalked across the entrance.

This was for our ‘Gallery’; an idea we had for one of the get-togethers for home educating families we held at our house. It was to collect together all the things the children in our group had made recently and display them in an ‘exhibition’.

If your children were anything like ours you can end up with masses of things they’ve made and constructed and children love showing each other. Seeing other people’s work is such a great way to stimulate them, and copying ideas the highest form of compliment! We made many trips to other galleries and exhibitions so I thought; ‘why not have one of our own?’

It was a great day. Weather was kind. ‘Oooos’ and ‘ahhhs’ floated around and the children were really interested. They love to show their creations beyond their usual family circle, that’s if your family circle is open-hearted enough to support your home education. I know some aren’t! So support from those who get what you’re doing is especially welcome when you may not have lots of other opportunities to show and tell.

Another aspect to this is the fact that making things is such valuable educational practise; it teaches all sorts of skills that aid children’s learning in ways you might not think. Reasoning and problem solving skills, hand-eye skills, research, use of tools, patience and achievement, motivation and independence. These in turn help academic achievement. And creativity develops the ability to think things out and be resourceful – both valuable life skills. We allowed no end of time for the children to exercise their minds and be creative.

At one point in our Home Ed lives there was a rocket taller than the girls were at that time, body sized paintings, and a roundhouse we were attempting to construct in the garden with whatever we had to hand as an exercise in learning about history, local resources, building materials etc, etc. Our youngest was dying to get to the stage where the walls were plastered in mud. Although we decided against using cow dung as part of the mixture so it wasn’t going to be entirely authentic!

It does get to the point where you have to demolish some of these creations otherwise you’d have to move house, so we started a photographic record of them, dated, and I still have those folders full of all the wonderful things the children made.

But I was just reminded about that exhibition today because I’m going off to Uni to see an exhibition of second year students’ work. And that little girl who wanted to make mud walls is one of them!

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