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Another Boring Day at School?



Now I have been home educated for 18 months, I thought I would tell you all how I learn. Home education is very personal. There is no right or wrong way of doing home education. It all depends on what is right for you. So, settle down in your chair and start learning!

Learning resources

A school uses three main learning resources, books, media and the Internet. Media usually means watching a video to do with a topic which you are learning, which has probably been played to classes by the school for the last 10 years! The internet, although available in the school I attended, was only used about once a year! As for books, well they were useful in school, but in my school library, there were only books for the highest age group in the school.  No thought was given to the fact that there may be more advanced readers in the school, who would find those types of books too easy, such as myself!

Ok, I have to admit that all three have their place in home education. Except they come in different ways. I get my extensive reading knowledge from three main sources. We purchase books, usually from Amazon or The Book People. I borrow books from the local library or I pinch Mum's books, as she has a vast, varied selection! Books are the best! I read and read and read, because it's a wonderful way to learn! I use media to help my learning in lots of ways. I have magazines, such as Steam Railway or Orca log (The WDCS newsletter). I sometimes read the newspapers, although we don't get them regularly. At lunchtimes, I usually watch the news channel Sky News, which teaches me about world politics. It also helps teach me a bit of geography. If, for example, I hear about a natural disaster in a country, out comes the atlas! So not only do I find out where the country is, but I find out a bit about the causes of natural disasters. I also enjoy listening to BBC Three Counties Radio,  a radio station which doesn't play music all day, but has debates about the day's local or wider issues, as well as competitions which encourage me to do some research, even if I don't phone up to give the answer!

But with home education, my resource list is endless, because inspiration for learning comes from the world around me. Firstly, I have the garden. We have a nest box, which bluetits come to every spring to lay their eggs. We have watched the bluetits mate, we have watched them build their nest and then seen them taking food for the chicks. As the chicks get older we can here them chirping for food, becoming more demanding to have their bellies filled with juicy caterpillars or wriggling worms. Delicious!
We have bird feeders all over the garden and a bird table. In the winter, when the birds are finding it difficult to find food, our garden starts filling with them! Our garden is full of different species of birds, who visit every day for a regular supply of food. I even have a seed feeder on my bedroom window so when I wake up in the mornings, I can sit and watch the birds from the comfort of my own bed!

We have a garden pond which attracts a lot of wildlife. In the summer, dragonflies are attracted to the pond, as well as frogs, toads and birds which bath in it and drink from it. The garden and all that's in it provides inspiration for my poetry, and plenty of subjects to study. I have a simple weather kit with a rain gauge, wind speed / direction indicator and a thermometer set up outside.

Of course we have our "zoo" of pets, which not only provide hours of entertainment, but often have me reaching for my pen to write poetry about their antics! Pet ownership teaches responsibility to care for others. Our cat, Chloe, has just given birth to three healthy Kittens. This taught me a lot in its own right. I learnt about pregnancy in cats and I watched a live birth, which was unforgettable. I have observed the kittens growing and learnt about their development. Every day I take the dog out for a short walk. While I am out I meet the people that live in the neighbourhood. You can learn a lot from just listening to what others say and their wisdom.

At home, I do a lot of cooking and D.T. In cooking, I go out with my mum, buy the ingredients, work out how much it costs to cook per person, and then learn how to cook the food I am making. In D.T,  I have a wide range of materials such as modelling clay, K'nex, and Meccano. I love designing robots, but I haven't got a proper kit yet. Oh well, roll on Christmas!

In school your learning is usually restricted to the classroom. With home education the whole world is your classroom! We have joined the National Trust which has some really excellent historical houses and gardens, as well as hundreds of miles of coastline. I can learn a lot from these places. . I can learn a lot more by walking around a manor house for an hour or two looking around me, talking to the guides and reading the information notices carefully, than I would in a school classroom in a whole day!

In school, the only time you get outside the classroom is when you go on a school trip,once or twice a year! When you arrive at your destination you probably will be given a sheet to fill in. You then spend the day walking around, looking for the answers to the questions on  the sheet and not looking at anything else. When I am on a trip out, I can learn more than just one subject. At a historical building, I can study the history of the house, I can study the people that lived there and what their lifestyle was like. The gardens give me the opportunity to study the science of plant and animal life. These places also give me ideas for poetry and stories. When I was on holiday in Norfolk, I took a trip to Blakeney Point, which is a spit owned by the National Trust. We went on a boat trip to look at the seals there. When I got back from my holiday, I learned all about spit formation, so not only had I read about them in a book, but I had seen a spit and the power of the ocean too!

There are many museums in Britain as well as watermills, castles, hydroelectric power stations, nature reserves, the list is endless! Each of these I visit, I learn something new. Even closer to home, there is still so much to learn. In the town I live we have an art gallery, a theatre, a local history library and many Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). We use our local area to help with all my study. Howe Park Wood (owned by MK Parks Trust ) is one of our favourite places to visit. We study the ponds and watch the pond life, especially the dragonflies!

For me Home Education has worked well! No more stuffy classrooms, endless worksheets and the same boring old things to see every day. The whole world is my classroom and I am learning all the time, not just during school hours. I love it!

Another Boring Day at School?