Tag Archive | travelling

Sewing is powerful stuff – according to homeschooler Alice Griffin

I’ve been connecting with fellow home educator and friend, Alice Griffin, lately. She has an inspirational approach to both life and home educating and I asked her if she’d feel like sharing some of her home ed ideas with readers here. She was happy to do so and writes about how they incorporate learning into everyday activities in a seamless way – if you’ll forgive the pun!

Here’s what she says:

I had a slight wobble recently, “we’re not doing much learning at the moment” I said to my husband worriedly, at which he laughed and gently reminded me that on that day alone our ten-year-old daughter had fed, cleaned, groomed and cared for a herd of Alpacas and a pony, baked a cake, taught herself a new piece of music on the recorder, read her book and designed and hand-sewn an outfit for a doll. “Oh yeah” I replied,“thanks for reminding me!”

Home-Education, for us, is a lifestyle. It’s not about set lessons, tests or endlessly planning what we should be learning. Instead it’s about discovering life and working out how we can incorporate learning into each day.

Take sewing for instance… our daughter is so into sewing right now that she will wake up in the morning and before we have washed up and prepared ourselves mentally for the day, she is sat on the sofa with her sewing box out and some new creation in her mind that she wants to bring to life. Once or twice I have said “come on, you can’t just sew all day!” before catching myself.

Sewing is powerful stuff you see… whilst sewing we have talked about clothing throughout history, we have looked at the traditional costumes people wear across the world, used maths when measuring and discussed what it means to be self-reliant. Just yesterday at a small sewing group I run within my local home-ed community we threw musical history into the lesson because, when you craft together, you also talk and share ideas. As it happens, sewing also fits perfectly with our lifestyle, too.

Being the wandering souls that we are – often criss-crossing our way across the UK and Europe – education has to happen as we move and so it has simply woven itself into our everyday life alongside cooking, washing and running our own businesses.The beauty for us of no school is that over time we have been able to develop our own version of a creative, wandering, family learning lifestyle that has no distinctions and really, feels a lot like just living.

Encouraging our daughter to discover the world and her passions in an organic way, benefitting from the experience and skills of both ourselves, other parents and all the other amazing people we meet, gives us great joy and I am thankful that Home Education has inspired us to mix things up a bit, allowing us to not be slaves to a set schedule and that it has guided us towards a very simple, shoestring life focused on time together rather than time apart. So on those days (that we all get) where we wonder if we’re doing OK, I reckon it’s good to acknowledge that learning comes in many guises and that if sewing is where it’s at, then we should just allow ourselves to roll with it.

Alice Griffin is a home-educating mum and writer. Along with her husband she also handcrafts nature-inspired jewellery and gifts.








Learning from renewed enthusiasm

The train filled up with children. And there was me congratulating myself on a quiet carriage for my journey back!

I was pinned in a corner by effervescent excitement and smiley faces. They were out on a school trip and their excitement bubbled round the train. You couldn’t help but be infected, unless you’re one of those dour souls who have no patience with children’s awe in life…like most of the other passengers. Those that didn’t have ear plugs in anyway.

But I love kids and I love their awe.

Nothing gets their awe and wonder fired up more than trips away from the norm. Trips out away from the stagnation of everyday routine fires their enthusiasm and motivation, builds skills and increases intelligence with the stimulation of it, develops their social awareness and conversation. Does the same for adults too!

They gabbled away with bursting enjoyment and I’m afraid I was earwigging. I so love to hear them. You can learn so much from kids, even though many adults think it’s only ever the other way round. I’m much more clued up on mobile phones now and which one’s trendy. Mine isn’t.

I know I also learn from getting away from a constipated routine. We all do – although it’s hard to fit it in sometimes.

At one point a mini fight broke out between two kids trying to snatch a pen off each other. But a friend butted in to call them to stop out of consideration for other passengers. Then the little chap turns to me and apologises for his friends’ disturbance. Twice! I think my face was shocked from the nobleness of his apology and must have looked all serious. (I do that when I’m thinking!) I grinned at him and said it was no problem. He grinned back. The chatter continued, more relaxed this time – now they knew I was maybe a bit understanding.

Several stops later they all got up to go. The ones on my seat looked at me and said goodbye with a smile and a wave of hand.

How nice was that! A simple life-skill.

How often do you get fellow adult passengers make eye contact with you or saying goodbye? Maybe we should try it more.

Yep – we can always learn so much from kids! Peace restored I had plenty of time to think about that as I journeyed home. And I thought I’d post about it and ask; what have you learned from kids lately?

I learned that I need to lighten up and get back to looking at the world with renewed wonder and awe! And an open mind. Nothing like a break away, and sometimes even a bunch of kids, to help you do that.