Tag Archive | Harriet Pattison

Can you help with research into Home Education?

I’ve been contacted by the founder of ‘Suitable Education’; a site that offers information and support to others along the diverse and eclectic journey through home education. They are currently running a survey to collate material about home educators and their experience with local authorities, and gather evidence of varying approaches and practices.

They have asked if I might spread the word about their research.

This is what they say:

Are you a home educator living in England who is known to the local authority? Your help is needed. 

Dr Harriet Pattison, Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies at Liverpool Hope University and author of Rethinking Learning to Read and myself, home educator and founder of Suitable Education, are carrying out research into home educators’ experiences with local authorities. 

Home educators are a hugely varied group. Our reasons for choosing home education are varied, some of us are passionate about it, others forced into it, what home education looks like can be very different, we have very different styles, our lives and circumstances are different. And just as varied are our experiences of dealing with local authorities. Some people find it helpful to be reassured that they are doing well, others find the experience intrusive and difficult. Our research seeks to unpick these different factors and therefore to understand and amplify home educators’ voices. It is important that we have evidence of local authority practices and approaches which cause issues, those that are helpful and also to evidence what home educators are experiencing. 

Please help by doing the questionnaire below, sharing this on your local group, asking friends to complete

https://suitable-education.uk/survey-on-home-educator-experience-with-local-authorities/

I hope you can find a few minutes to do the questionnaire and share this post as widely as possible.

The more that is known and understood about home education the better it will be. I look upon it as home educating the wider public, most particularly those in authority and especially those with bigoted blinkers on! 🙂

Children are made readers…

Well, I think it’s generally good news on the easing of Lockdown. I was terrified the politicians would go crazy for popularity, open everything up too quickly and we’d be back to square one with rising infections in a month!

It’s still hard to imagine that normality of meeting friends without standing back from them, giving spontaneous hugs and kisses, going to pubs and cafes, libraries, museums and other such venues for inspiration and stimulation.

I don’t miss shopping – it’s not what I’d normally choose to do as a pastime, but there is one aside to that; I miss bookshops. I’ve never had the cash to randomly buy books, but I love to look at them and after much deliberation would invest on occasion.

The kids used to love going into bookshops too. And could spend hours in libraries, staggering out with the maximum they could borrow in one go.

The aesthetic of books will forever appeal to me, despite the advantage of digital versions and all you can access online.

I remember being in one bookshop a few years ago when I came across a sign in the children’s department, with the most exquisite sentiment. It read:

Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.

What a thought!  

I know it was a promotional statement but it is in part true. All those hours reading to your child has enormous benefits towards them building reading skills for themselves, they see/hear you reading, they hear intonation and expression, pauses and clauses, meaning and understanding of the fact these symbols on a page turn into stories. They begin to recognise word shapes and want to decipher them for themselves.

We can’t do it enough; we should read to them as much as we can, whatever age, however old they are. As long as they want us to. Such a loving thing to do. Such an important thing to do – give our time and attention to our children and develop a love of books and reading at the same time. Such a simple thing, which has such complex benefits.

It’s easy to be feel daunted by the hype and mystery surrounding learning to read, for parents to believe they’re not capable of helping their child to learn to read. That children need reading schemes and flash cards and complicated phonic strategies culminating in tests common in schools, or their children won’t learn to read properly.

That’s not true.

Children can and do learn to read completely informally as this brilliant book by Harriet Pattison explains; ‘Rethinking Learning to Read’ (see a blog about it here). In it the author actually argues against formal instruction – well worth a read.

Parents are totally able to ignite their children’s delight and curiosity about reading and it’s simple enough to encourage it to continue, building the necessary skills along the way. You don’t need teaching skills necessarily. You just need to give the time and attention to enjoying books and print and signs, in fact anything reading related, together.

(Here’s a little story about our child’s difficulty with reading during our Home Ed years – and what happened)

So keep the thought in mind; children are made readers on the laps of their parents – not necessarily in schools. And roll on the day we can get back in bookshops and libraries!

Meanwhile the book above is available here as well as Amazon.