Tuesday 1 May 2012

Does learning really begin after school?

I met some new home educators at yesterday's HE group and we got into many wonderful conversations.  One of the best was to hear that she was homeschooled on and off herself as a child;  her mother was a teacher and taught them herself three months here and three months there.  She told me how, in between being homeschooled, she would be in and out of different schools, none of which she saw much point of attending not for the social aspect or the learning aspect.  Her mother would use the homeschooling time to travel with them while they were young; she taught them all varieties of thing and allowed them to experience different types of life.  What a wonderful way of learning!

A picture of (what I think) learning should look like!

I found it so exciting to be able to talk to an adult who had experienced home education.  Obviously she is excited now she has 3 children of her own to home educate.  I am so looking forward to spending more time getting to know her and her lovely family.

We also got onto the subject of what to teach a child; what they really need to learn and what they don't.  One point brought up in this conversation was: 'What is the point of maths if you'll never use it?'  I pointed out that if a child, or adult for that matter, learnt about what professions use particular skills, then perhaps more often, the subject would more interesting and the person would be more inclined to want to learn it as then learning that new skill would have a possible purpose.  I love learning, I haven't found anything I haven't enjoyed learning about since I left school.  Which leads me to another point that was made:  Does learning really begin after school?
I think a lot of my learning certainly happened after life at school.  My favourite jobs I had after school were attained from what I had taught myself and not what I had learnt in school.  I was the daydreamer in class, I also struggled to see a point to learning anything at school, everything was put on a plate in such a boring way in about 80% of my lessons. 

What gets me is how when you tell some children what to do, like my HB for example, they won't do it even if you dress up as a clown, pull funny faces or bribe them with cake (just for the record I have not tried all these things).  What I do find is that leaving learning resources in reach and not encouraging her, she will, off her own back, come to me wanting to learn and doing so at a rapid pace.  It gets me how can someone can expect a child to want to learn something in an environment where they are told exactly what to learn, when to learn it and how to learn it?  Learning should be about exploring, discovering, about feeling achievement when you've found success.  Learning should be done in a way that is enjoyed, it shouldn't feel like a chore.

One person quoted: choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life by Confucius.  It's one I haven't heard before but one that I've always believed in, my husband has always thought me ridiculous to think this way, but I have never stayed in a job I haven't enjoyed, life is too short!  I hope that by home educating my girls that I will give them that chance to find that job that won't feel like a chore!
What about your experiences did you find you learnt more in school or when you left?


  1. I think learning is life and school is part of that life thus some learning must take place. What that learning is will depend on the individual and the circumstances. Personally I feel my own schooling years were a waste of time for a whole heap of reasons and am mindful of that experience in respect of my own children and their learning. Choosing a job you love or working out what it is that you want to do and then making money from it is definitely worth striving for and often I feel that school prevents that from happening because of the time you spend doing things you aren't interested in and will simply drop when you leave. I know in my day there was a distinct lack of guidance or advice as to how a "subject" might be useful in a given career choice. But then there was little guidance full stop and it was just all too narrow minded including the curriculum - I doubt much has changed.

    1. I agree Angela, although I learnt many things at school that I hope my children don't learn, well, not first hand, if you know what I mean.

      I think schools are pretty much the same today as they were when we were there, as you also said, still all about ticking boxes and getting their statistics right. I wish it was more about guidence, but then, I still would not send my children to school for all those other many reasons! :)