October 21, 2014

Is it possible for children to ‘learn a different way’?

Home-Education is About Learning, Not Schooling

August 2011 sm_067

An excellent article by Contributing Editor with JUNO magazine interested in science, tech, the environment, green and gentle parenting

I wonder whether approaching the subject a different way would have been more tactful. First, a barrage of questions washes over me; ‘What do you mean, you’re going to teach them yourself? How will you know what to teach? But you’re not qualified to teach that subject?’ Then, more adamantly stated, ‘Are you sure it’s legal?’

These are the incredulous comments of a teacher friend of mine after hearing that my husband and I plan to home educate our children. She studied for four years in order to teach in a school, and she strongly believes that teachers who study for less than two years are not ‘properly qualified’ to impart knowledge to young people. So, I’m having trouble conveying to her our decision not to send our children to school. To say that we plan to ‘home-school’ our daughter does not offer much explanation, as the term implies that teaching will take place in a structured fashion, in the home instead of the school, with a strict timetable, exams and homework, and to a strict curriculum. If this was the case, there would be little difference between home education and school education.

Thankfully, there is another, more natural way of learning, which is perfectly legal and does not require ‘qualified’ teachers. This type of ‘life education’ is known as autonomous learning, and it is not restricted to a specific building or term times and timetables of learning. Life-learning is what most passionate individuals do naturally every day, every hour if not every minute, thanks to an innate thirst and a passion for learning, or self-educating, which is with us from the moment we emerge from the womb into the sounds and smells of the world. Humans are born autonomous learners.

But we treat children differently. At school, they are forced to learn subjects that may not come naturally to them and which, in some cases, they will never use again. This is demoralising for any individual and it creates a passive mind and voice in a young learner. It also makes learning seem dull and monotonous. In the school setting, criticism of teaching methods, individual opinions, independent thought and asking too many questions is frowned upon, often because teachers simply don’t have the time to deal with them. Facts are absorbed, parrot-fashion, but a certain passion for the subject is missing, which is an inevitable outcome of forced learning for both children and adults alike. Children look forward to ‘holidays’ away from school, where their minds are free to roam and grow without constraints, and they no longer have to worry about retributions for what is deemed as poor work, or about making the grade. Few children ever make the grade in every class.

Another common misconception about home-schooling is that it is anti-education, or against the education establishment. The distinction that is missing here is that the autonomous learning movement is entirely pro-learning, but anti-formal education, which is, by its very nature, draconic and cannot suit every child’s needs.

Home educating parents recognise that attending to every child’s individual needs is an impossible feat for any teacher with a class of 30 children to get through exams, coursework and so on. Home educators are able to offer one-to-one guidance, knowledge, and resources whenever they may be required. When children learn ‘at home’, they are free to learn autonomously instead of being sent to a large building where unknown individuals prescribe their learning. They can choose their own routes into education, whether through visual and audio aids, hand-on messy experiments where the kitchen becomes a lab for a week, through reading and Googling, and by asking questions and absorbing the answers- which all children naturally do. Through taking charge of their own learning, they acquire the skills they will need in later life; the skills that will make them good at their vocations, without the negatives of subjects they were ‘no good at’ hanging over them. They are also free to pursue specific areas of interest as far as they want to…

Read the full article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/zion-lights/home-education_b_1937272.html

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

From the Smiths:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/

Updated 1 October 2014:  Three years on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here

*****

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/

Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

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/

Please like & share:

Dr Ruth Beechick – You can Teach your Child Successfully

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

From the Smiths:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/

Updated 1 October 2014:  Three years on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here

*****

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/

Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

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/

Please like & share:

Health Curriculum: How to prevent and cure Cancer and other diseases

This series is excellent and I highly recommend that you all watch these Youtube videos – the first five are up on Youtube and the rest will go up one a day (2pm in New Zealand). The first one will probably be taken down soon. It was only meant to be up for free for 24 hours. They will be for sale after the series finishes. Ty is a personal friend of ours. He and his family came to our daughter Genevieve’s wedding. They lived in NZ for about a year. Ty and Charleen home educate their children.

Find out how to prevent and treat cancer 100% naturally, watch the trailer for FREE today. Live docu-series event…thetruthaboutcancer.com
1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc1rtIxvkao – History, what is cancer and Chemo
2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEkdpGyve3o – Immune system. A Dr in this video says that there may be a case for Chemo to help reduce the cancer so that the immunue system can take over and do its work of getting rid of cancer. They all say that there is NO cure for cancer. It is all about building up the immune system so that it can do its job of killing the cancer.
3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQpWH-LR6Gki – “Eliminate these dirty dozen to prevent cancer” “GMO’s” are dangerous foods which are not grown or raised, they are created in a lab environment and tweaked to create a species not found in nature. Even though GMO’s have gotten a lot more press over the past few years I bet you didn’t know that over 70% of processed foods contain genetically modified ingredients! Avoid these foods – Read Ty’s report:  Read it here for free
- Which detoxification treatments were actually in the Merck Manual until the 1970s – (@ 22:10)
- That the lymphatic system is the most overlooked “detox” system in the body (@ 45:00)
5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L03t6STTjZQ – “Nature’s Pharmacy” For thousands of years, humans have used the plant life around them to help cure their ailments. If you walk into the woods, you will be hard pressed to find anything that’s not medicine. We’ll learn about how natural food really can be our medicine. We’ll learn which foods to avoid and which ones to eat. We’ll learn about vitamin and mineral deficiencies and how to properly correct them with foods and herbs. And we’ll also learn about which types of sugars feed cancer and which types don’t. (we will want to see this for sure)
1. @ 15:25 – learn the difference between left-spin and right-spin sugar molecules and which one feeds cancer cells and which one is healthy
2. @ 53:10 – learn how seeds help defeat cancer by targeting cancer stem cells
3. @ 57:00 – discover how this common emotion stimulates the immune system for 24 hours while another common emotion suppresses immunity for 6 hours
6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VO7V4nDnCM “Clean Foods & The Cancer Free Diet”. We all know that “you are what you eat” and in this episode we’re going to show you exactly how to eat in a way that will destroy cancer cells. This is an amazing show that teaches you how to eat and use nutrition to prevent cancer, and also how to eat to treat cancer too. Here’s a small sample of the powerful content in this eipsode
1. @ 10:50 – Could cervical cancer be nothing more than a nutritional deficiency disease?
2. @ 13:23 – Is the Food Pyramid for the Standard American Diet (SAD) really upside down?
3. @ 33:40 – Learn the difference between “good” and “bad” salt and how “good salt” is essential for proper functioning of the immune system and hormones
4. @39:30 – Discover what type of water acts as an antioxidant to your body
5. @ 51:51 – Learn why there are more anti-cancer compounds in a whole food diet than in your local oncology center
7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdOTjVR67LM Episode 7:  Diagnostic “Do’s & Don’ts” – Proven Treatment Protocols Part 1. This is one of those episodes that you’ll want to have a pen and paper handy for taking notes. In fact, the next 3 episodes are all about specific cancer treatments and protocols shared by the doctors that created/use them everyday to save thousands of lives.

From Ty: One thing that I really want everyone to understand is that
this series is a “Quest for the Cures” (plural).

Meaning… there’s not just one way, or one magic pill, or one protocol that will work for everyone.

Depending on ones genetics, blood type, race, gender, medical history, type of cancer, and other factors, will determine what works and what doesn’t.

Not to mention, we’ve interviewed 51 experts, to get their opinions and expertise, and not all 51 will agree 100% on every single thing.

And that’s okay…

If they all agreed on the same magic pill, then our show would only be 1 episode long :-)

So, please keep in mind that our mission is to investigate and educate, so that YOU (and everyone you love) can make an informed decision if they’re ever faced with a cancer diagnoses.

With that said, you’re about to enjoy 3 nights of proven treatment protocols from the doctors that use them to save lives every single
day.

8. http://thetruthaboutcancer.com/live/episode8.php EPISODE 8: Proven Treatment Protocols Part 2 (Now playing)  (this link will change when Episode 9 goes up at 2pm on Tuesday)

Episode 9:  Proven Treatment Protocols Part 3
(Airs Tuesday October 22nd)

Episode 10: Doctor’s Orders
(Airs Wednesday October 23rd)

Episode 11: How to Survive and Thrive
(Airs Thursday October 24th)

- See more at: http://thetruthaboutcancer.com/live/episode7.php#sthash.DK1TtPfY.dpuf

There are 11 videos altogether – the 9th one will be playing at 2pm tomorrow afternoon – I don’t have the link for it yet – you can subscribe here to get the link in your email each day: http://thetruthaboutcancer.com/fall_quest1.php

The whole course can be purchased here for half price for the next 3 days: http://thetruthaboutcancer.com/pre-order/champion.php

Ty Charlene Bollinger

Ty has pulled all the advice in the world together about cancer into this series. He interviews a lot of different people.

This is also good for us too. For those who don’t have cancer as a preventative and for those who have had cancer to keep cancer from returning.

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

From the Smiths:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/

Updated 1 October 2014:  Three years on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here

*****

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/

Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

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/

Please like & share:

Home Educators can learn from this Veteran Teacher

A veteran teacher turned coach shadows 2 students for 2 days – a sobering lesson learned

The following account comes from a veteran High School teacher who just became a Coach in her building. Because her experience is so vivid and sobering I have kept her identity anonymous. But nothing she describes is any different than my own experience in sitting in HS classes for long periods of time. And this report of course accords fully with the results of our student surveys. 

I have made a terrible mistake.

I waited fourteen years to do something that I should have done my first year of teaching: shadow a student for a day. It was so eye-opening that I wish I could go back to every class of students I ever had right now and change a minimum of ten things – the layout, the lesson plan, the checks for understanding. Most of it!

This is the first year I am working in a school but not teaching my own classes; I am the High School Learning Coach, a new position for the school this year. My job is to work with teachers and admins. to improve student learning outcomes.

As part of getting my feet wet, my principal suggested I “be” a student for two days: I was to shadow and complete all the work of a 10th grade student on one day and to do the same for a 12th grade student on another day. My task was to do everything the student was supposed to do: if there was lecture or notes on the board, I copied them as fast I could into my notebook. If there was a Chemistry lab, I did it with my host student. If there was a test, I took it (I passed the Spanish one, but I am certain I failed the business one)…

Key Takeaway #1

Students sit all day, and sitting is exhausting.

I could not believe how tired I was after the first day. I literally sat down the entire day, except for walking to and from classes. We forget as teachers, because we are on our feet a lot – in front of the board, pacing as we speak, circling around the room to check on student work, sitting, standing, kneeling down to chat with a student as she works through a difficult problem…we move a lot.

But students move almost never. And never is exhausting. In every class for four long blocks, the expectation was for us to come in, take our seats, and sit down for the duration of the time. By the end of the day, I could not stop yawning and I was desperate to move or stretch. I couldn’t believe how alert my host student was, because it took a lot of conscious effort for me not to get up and start doing jumping jacks in the middle of Science just to keep my mind and body from slipping into oblivion after so many hours of sitting passively.

I was drained, and not in a good, long, productive-day kind of way. No, it was that icky, lethargic tired feeling. I had planned to go back to my office and jot down some initial notes on the day, but I was so drained I couldn’t do anything that involved mental effort (so instead I watched TV) and I was in bed by 8:30.

If I could go back and change my classes now, I would immediately change the following three things:

  • mandatory stretch halfway through the class
  • put a Nerf basketball hoop on the back of my door and encourage kids to play in the first and final minutes of class
  • build in a hands-on, move-around activity into every single class day. Yes, we would sacrifice some content to do this – that’s fine. I was so tired by the end of the day, I wasn’t absorbing most of the content, so I am not sure my previous method of making kids sit through hour-long, sit-down discussions of the texts was all that effective.

Key Takeaway #2

High School students are sitting passively and listening during approximately 90% of their classes.

Obviously I was only shadowing for two days, but in follow-up interviews with both of my host students, they assured me that the classes I experienced were fairly typical.

In eight periods of high school classes, my host students rarely spoke. Sometimes it was because the teacher was lecturing; sometimes it was because another student was presenting; sometimes it was because another student was called to the board to solve a difficult equation; and sometimes it was because the period was spent taking a test. So, I don’t mean to imply critically that only the teachers droned on while students just sat and took notes. But still, hand in hand with takeaway #1 is this idea that most of the students’ day was spent passively absorbing information.

It was not just the sitting that was draining but that so much of the day was spent absorbing information but not often grappling with it.

I asked my tenth-grade host, Cindy, if she felt like she made important contributions to class or if, when she was absent, the class missed out on the benefit of her knowledge or contributions, and she laughed and said no.

I was struck by this takeaway in particular because it made me realize how little autonomy students have, how little of their learning they are directing or choosing. I felt especially bad about opportunities I had missed in the past in this regard.

If I could go back and change my classes now, I would immediately:

  • Offer brief, blitzkrieg-like mini-lessons with engaging, assessment-for-learning-type activities following directly on their heels (e.g. a ten-minute lecture on Whitman’s life and poetry, followed by small-group work in which teams scour new poems of his for the very themes and notions expressed in the lecture, and then share out or perform some of them to the whole group while everyone takes notes on the findings.)
  • set an egg timer every time I get up to talk and all eyes are on me. When the timer goes off, I am done. End of story. I can go on and on. I love to hear myself talk. I often cannot shut up. This is not really conducive to my students’ learning, however much I might enjoy it.
  • Ask every class to start with students’ Essential Questions or just general questions born of confusion from the previous night’s reading or the previous class’s discussion. I would ask them to come in to class and write them all on the board, and then, as a group, ask them to choose which one we start with and which ones need to be addressed. This is my biggest regret right now – not starting every class this way. I am imagining all the misunderstandings, the engagement, the enthusiasm, the collaborative skills, and the autonomy we missed out on because I didn’t begin every class with fifteen or twenty minutes of this.

Key takeaway #3

You feel a little bit like a nuisance all day long.

I lost count of how many times we were told be quiet and pay attention. It’s normal to do so – teachers have a set amount of time and we need to use it wisely. But in shadowing, throughout the day, you start to feel sorry for the students who are told over and over again to pay attention because you understand part of what they are reacting to is sitting and listening all day. It’s really hard to do, and not something we ask adults to do day in and out. Think back to a multi-day conference or long PD day you had and remember that feeling by the end of the day – that need to just disconnect, break free, go for a run, chat with a friend, or surf the web and catch up on emails. That is how students often feel in our classes, not because we are boring per se but because they have been sitting and listening most of the day already. They have had enough.

In addition, there was a good deal of sarcasm and snark directed at students and I recognized, uncomfortably, how much I myself have engaged in this kind of communication. I would become near apoplectic last year whenever a very challenging class of mine would take a test, and without fail, several students in a row would ask the same question about the test. Each time I would stop the class and address it so everyone could hear it. Nevertheless, a few minutes later a student who had clearly been working his way through the test and not attentive to my announcement would ask the same question again. A few students would laugh along as I made a big show of rolling my eyes and drily stating, “OK, once again, let me explain…”

Of course it feels ridiculous to have to explain the same thing five times, but suddenly, when I was the one taking the tests, I was stressed. I was anxious. I had questions. And if the person teaching answered those questions by rolling their eyes at me, I would never want to ask another question again. I feel a great deal more empathy for students after shadowing, and I realize that sarcasm, impatience, and annoyance are a way of creating a barrier between me and them. They do not help learning.

If I could go back and change my classes now, I would immediately:

  • Dig deep into my personal experience as a parent where I found wells of patience and love I never knew I have, and call upon them more often when dealing with students who have questions. Questions are an invitation to know a student better and create a bond with that student. We can open the door wider or shut if forever, and we may not even realize we have shut it.
  • I would make my personal goal of “no sarcasm” public and ask the students to hold me accountable for it. I could drop money into a jar for each slip and use it to treat the kids to pizza at the end of the year. In this way, I have both helped create a closer bond with them and shared a very real and personal example of goal-setting for them to use a model in their own thinking about goals.
  • I would structure every test or formal activity like the IB exams do – a five-minute reading period in which students can ask all their questions but no one can write until the reading period is finished. This is a simple solution I probably should have tried years ago that would head off a lot (thought, admittedly, not all) of the frustration I felt with constant, repetitive questions.

I have a lot more respect and empathy for students after just one day of being one again. Teachers work hard, but I now think that conscientious students work harder. I worry about the messages we send them as they go to our classes and home to do our assigned work, and my hope is that more teachers who are able will try this shadowing and share their findings with each other and their administrations. This could lead to better “backwards design” from the student experience so that we have more engaged, alert, and balanced students sitting (or standing) in our classes.

262 Comments

Wow. The response to this post has been overwhelming – over 150,000 page hits so far – and over 800 emails to me requesting further info.

So, instead of replying by email, my response and resources I promised can now be found below:

AE Student Survey 2014-15

AE Shadow Student

Survey Letter 2014

To read the whole article go to: http://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/a-veteran-teacher-turned-coach-shadows-2-students-for-2-days-a-sobering-lesson-learned/

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

From the Smiths:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/

Updated 1 October 2014:  Three years on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here

*****

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/

Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

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/

Please like & share:

Going overseas: exemptions and allowance

A home educator who had recently returned from overseas looked into his exemption applications for his children. He questioned whether he should be filling out new exemptions for his children. Candida from the Hamilton local MoE office looked into it for him and found that he did not have to submit new exemptions (Thanks Candida). Wonderful news. Candida contacted the National MoE office and now we have the official word on it from Lucy:

We have sought clarification with our legal team regarding the rules around having to reapply for an exemption when returning to New Zealand after residing overseas for a while.

Home Educators do not need to reapply for their certificate of exemption after leaving NZ and then returning.

We do however, need to be informed when they leave and return to NZ as the funding will cease when they are away.

I will be changing our deskfile to make this clearer, and will also be sending a message out to all of our regional homeschooling staff today.

The deskfile will say:

Homeschool Parents Leaving New Zealand for Holiday or Extended Period

The maximum time a home schooling family can leave New Zealand and remain eligible for full home schooling allowance is 28 days. However the 28 day rule can be slightly flexible.

If a family leaves New Zealand for up to and including 28 days they still remain eligible for the full home schooling allowance for the overseas period.

If a family leaves New Zealand for more than 28 days but less than six months and returns to New Zealand to continue home schooling a ‘less days’ payment will be made. Please inform the Resourcing Division in the National Office of any home schoolers that will be out of New Zealand for more than 28 days, so a note can be made for the payment period.

If a family leaves New Zealand for more than 6 months they will need to re-apply for their homeschooling allowance, upon their return. This does not mean having to re-apply for the exemption but rather inform us they are back so the payments can resume.

 

This has been mentioned in some of the feedback provided to us that I have seen so far. Can you please let your members know of this?  I will also add it into our communications when we go back to the home educators with the collation of feedback.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

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

Please share/forward this link with other home educators.

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

From the Smiths:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/

Updated 1 October 2014:  Three years on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here

*****

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/

Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

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/

Please like & share:

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)