December 10, 2018

Children should learn mainly through play until age of eight, says Lego

Toy company funds research suggesting educational development can be hindered by early formal schooling. So are UK schools getting it wrong?

A child plays in a nursery.
The Lego Foundation has put £4m into a play professorship at Cambridge University. The first incumbent will be chosen in April Photograph: Gary Calton for the Observer

Parents are squeezing the role of play out of their children’s lives in favour of the three ‘R’s as they try to prepare their offspring for a competitive world, according to the head of Lego’s education charity arm.

A lack of understanding of the value of play is prompting parents and schools alike to reduce it as a priority, says Hanne Rasmussen, head of the Lego Foundation. If parents and governments push children towards numeracy and literacy earlier and earlier, it means they miss out on the early play-based learning that helps to develop creativity, problem-solving and empathy, she says.

According to Rasmussen, the evidence for play-based learning has built enormously over the last decade, but parents don’t know about it. “Both in the formal education system and in the homes of children, the focus on the value of play is rather limited. That’s really something we want to work on – to improve the understanding of the value of play and what play really can do, where more and more it is squeezed by a desire both from the formal system and from parents that children should learn specific literacy and numeracy quite early.”

Read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/mar/15/children-learn-play-age-eight-lego?CMP=share_btn_fb&fbclid=IwAR0eFlVx17cm5oqq_ifw7_BvlfxlaIewp4I_IKERkcU4nxBcel59SkqDNtA

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Home Education Statistics 1998-2017

From the MoE website:

As at 1 July 2017, there were 6,008 home schooled students recorded in the Ministry of Education’s Homeschooling database. These students belong to 3,022 families and represent 0.8% of total school enrolments as at 1 July 2017. Out of the 6,008 homeschoolers 67.3% were the aged 12 or under, 68.3% had been home-schooled for less than 5 years, and only 4.2% had been home-schooled for 10 years or more.

Read more here: https://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/statistics/schooling/student-numbers/homeschooling

Homeschooling Students Time Series Downloads: File Type & Size

Homeschooling Turnover

Between 1 July 2016 and 1 July 2017 there was an overall net increase of 171 students; 1,222 students entered into homeschooling and 1,051 students finished homeschooling.

Read more here: https://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/statistics/schooling/student-numbers/homeschooling

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Needing help for your home schooling journey: http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading

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What’s it like to home educate your children?

Currently, 6,000 New Zealand kids are getting homeschooled, not including those enrolled at the correspondence school Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu.

Educating a child at home can allow a parent to “light a fire in their hearts and minds” without pressure or competition, says Siobhan Porter, who has homeschooled all five of her kids.

Siobhan is the director of Auckland Home Educators – a support and advocacy group for homeschoolers.

She and education consultant Natalie Donaldson – who has also homeschooled five kids  – talk to Kathryn Ryan about their experience.

Siobhan Porter of Auckland Home Educators

Siobhan Porter of Auckland Home Educators Photo: Auckland Home Educators

Siobhan Porter had a private school education herself and every advantage, she says.

She hadn’t been exposed to home education at all when she became a mother. (Her children now range in age from 6 to 19.)

“When my oldest was nearly five, I thought ‘actually I don’t really want school to interrupt this lovely thing we’ve got happening here’.”

Siobhan met with some other people who were homeschooling and decided to give it a go.

“I thought ‘surely it can’t be too hard to teach a child to read. I can read myself, I’m not trained to do this but I think I could find out.”

Every child learns differently and as a parent, you have a lot of intuition about what is best for your own child, she says.

“When you can sit alongside your child and connect with them, it’s a wonderful process of them learning and you learning alongside them.

“You’re really lighting a fire in their hearts and minds and helping them to follow their passions.

“You can do that in a really thorough and unhurried way when you’re homeschooling without all that pressure and competition.

“They do this great learning but they still have heaps of time to play, explore, create and imagine.”

Natalie, whose kids now range in age between 11 and 19, also had no intention of educating her kids at home until it became clear her 5-year-old son was going to find school a big challenge.

She and her partner gave it a try for educational reasons, but didn’t realise it would also be “a great family thing it was to do”, she says.

“We didn’t realise it would give us the opportunity to be together as a family, to grow to know each other and to actually quite like each other in a way I didn’t realise you could do as a family.”

In New Zealand, homeschoolers don’t have to follow the New Zealand school curriculum and people take many different approaches to their kids’ education, Natalie says.

“Learning isn’t about reaching a particular milestone at a particular age. It’s about progressing along a continuum and gaining those skills as you are able and interested.

“If a child is illiterate at age 10 or 11 it does not mean they will have a poor education outcome long-term if a family is committed to [their education].

“If you take the institution out of learning, children just have this wonderful freedom and curiosity to learn.”

Homeschooled kids don’t have to miss out socially, she says.

“Children don’t have to be around 20 or 30 other children to be well-socialised. They do need a few good friends and they need to see those friends regularly.”

Auckland Home Educators hosts an event every term where kids can experience the wider community of homeschoolers, she says.

But people educating their kids at home also have to use initiative and create their own community, she says.

“You have to be proactive about seeking out those families at the same age and stage in your area that you can meet with regularly.”

When they’re reading for formal schooling, home-schooled children are generally well-grounded, she says.

“They really know who they are, they know their family, they know their family culture and values.”

One of the biggest challenges of home-schooling is living on one income, she says.

“There’s a lot of families who are on quite humble incomes who find creative ways to make homeschooling work for them.”

As a parent, more mess and clutter in the house and fewer breaks from your kids can be challenging, too, she says.

Natalie concedes homeschooling isn’t the right option for everyone, but sometimes the positive outcomes can take time to be revealed.

“It can look like [the child is] doing nothing in the early years, but inevitably, in the long run, these familes do extremely well.”

You can get more information about home education at the Ministry of Education website.

Radio New Zealand:

https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018669313/what-s-it-like-to-homeschool-your-kids

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Needing help for your home schooling journey: http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading

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GET THEM OUT!

Craig used to say this all the time. Infact we had a slogan printed out with just these words: Get them out!

From Doug Wilson’s blog today

INTRODUCTION:

“H.L. Mencken suggested a shrewd educational reform that has somehow not caught on. He said that there was nothing wrong with our current education establishment that could not be fixed by burning all the schools, and hanging all the teachers. Now some might want to dismiss this as an extreme measure, but visionaries are often dismissed in their own day. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one . . .”

GET THEM OUT NOW:

“I do have an idea, followed by a question. Millions of evangelicals still have their children in the government school system. Get them out now. Having Christian children in the government school system is what theologians of another era would have called sinnity-sin-sin. Not a little smidge of sinnity either.[1] Not really a debatable matter. Stop it. Crash the system. If there ever were to be a true reformation among us, Christians leaving the public school system would form a refugee column that would make the Mississippi River look like a solitary tear running down Horace Mann’s cheek.

“My question is a simple one, but I will divide it into two questions in just a moment. Here is the first phase of the question:

“In order for all Christians to get their kids out of the maw of this government school system, what would it take precisely? How many outrages would have to be slathered over the tops of all of our heads before we said something like, “Friend, enough”? How outrageous would such outrages have to get before somebody noticed? How much before everybody noticed?

“How far down this wormhole do we have to go?

“Some time, away in the future, the last holdout, some Baptist deacon in Tennessee, will finally acknowledge that when the public school system refused to allow his (politely worded) request for his daughter to opt out of the lab for the pole dancing class, with the football team as the practice audience, they really had “gone too far.” The football team was there because they were all in mandatory sensitivity training, which meant that they had to watch the girls without any catcalling, which they did grumble about a little bit.

“Here is how the question divides. What it would take in 2018 is a very different question than what it will take twenty years from now, in 2038. The reason I know this is because what it would have taken in 1998, and before that in 1978, is quite different from what it would take now. Decadence, as Augustine once put it, is a conveyor belt that has no off switch. Things that pass without comment today would have caused riots forty years ago. And that which would cause riots today is what you are prepping your great-grandchildren to eventually put up with, provided they learn your evasions.

“If you boil a frog slowly enough, as the adage has it, he will let you do it. If they are evangelical frogs, you can boil the whole Nile, with all of them in it. On a summer evening you can hear them croaking their praise choruses.

“Can anybody imagine a school in 1958 where drag queens were in charge of the library reading hour? Can anybody imagine John Knox writing a stern letter to the school board about it, and speaking in opposition for his allotted three minutes at the public hearing that was scheduled for it? While you are at it, try to imagine him going up to the lectern with mincing step and simpering into the microphone.

THE HEART OF OUR COMPROMISE:

“This is the diseased heart of our great compromise. This is the Baal-grove out in front of Gideon’s house. The sound of revival would be the sound of multiple chain saws firing up. If it doesn’t smell like burning oil, and if it doesn’t sound like those chain saws, it isn’t revival.

“Get them out now.”

READ MORE HERE: https://dougwils.com/books-and-culture/s7-engaging-the-culture/burn-all-the-schools.html?platform=hootsuite

Well worth reading this blog to the end.

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Needing help for your home schooling journey: http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading

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Listen to Radio New Zealand Thursday, 1 Nov, 11.20am

Make sure you listen to an interview about homeschooling on Radio New Zealand tomorrow (Thursday), 1 November 2018, at 11.20am. Kathryn Ryan on the Nine to Noon programme will be talking to Siobhan Porter and Natalie Donaldson from AHE (Auckland Home Educators). It should be really good – show your support and listen in!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Needing help for your home schooling journey: http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading

 

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