Tag Archive | homeed

#HomeEd 2.0

I discovered my old website this week on the wonderful WayBack Machine, and so I have started to transfer and update some of its pages over here.

I also found a collection of blog posts from around 2009 when I was experimenting with using my old website for blogging, and I thought I might reproduce some of them here. This post was originally called ‘Technoschoolers’ and was posted in various places including my old Multiply site, which I have also partially recovered. So I may re-post some ‘classic’ posts now from time to time.

So without further ado…

Home Ed 2.0

I’ve been having an interesting conversation online with a real-life friend of mine who is a ‘learning technologist’. She believes – with a passion – that today’s schools prepare children perfectly for life – in the 1890s!

She also believes that what is needed is technology, and lots of it! To be specific, social media – Web 2.0 collaborative learning & networking technologies, and among the best of these she suggests the following:

YouTube
Animoto
– Blogs
Twitter
– wikis

Of course, homeschoolers in the US and home educators in the UK are already well connected through things like yahoo groups, curriculum forums, and the newer Ning communities such as the Homeschool Lounge and so on.

I’d also like to add a couple of resources to the list of learning technologies which look interesting or useful:

VoiceThread
– Picnik (update: Picnik was a photo editor which is no more)
Mindmeister & similar
Diigo (Delicious, Digg etc.)
Etherpad
Cover It Live

I’ve also heard good things about

Moodle and
Elluminate

but I’m not sure how appropriate these would be for children who are learning at home autonomously (as most UK home educators do), I would need to investigate further how these can be used.

Take a look at the following video, and consider these questions: are the issues being raised in the video relevant to home education or not (and if not, why not), if they are relevant, how do we address them?

(I have to say, watching this again in 2014, I am struck by how thoroughly miserable these children look!)

If our children are learning autonomously, how does that figure in – how and where do we draw the boundaries, keep them safe, ensure that if they choose to game, facebook, blog, twitter or whatever (and apologies to prescriptive grammatists there for my verbal use of the words ‘game’ and ‘facebook’ !), that they are getting something educational out of it or should we be encouraging a balance between all this and learning in more traditional ways?

 

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New Term #homeed #dyslexia

dyslexia2

I’m spending today planning, thinking, wondering how to proceed when we start back with homeschooling tomorrow. I’m glad of an extra day, as I have been putting off thinking about it, and the weekend has been busy with visitors. But my eldest is still home as it’s a teacher’s ‘inset’ day, so I decided I could do with an ‘inset’ day myself.

The weather is very grey and depressing after the lovely sunny weather and I am really hoping it will start cheering up again as I am feeling that I need to get out more and get away from things this term.

I am wondering again how to deal with the severe dyslexia problem. I am out of my depth, and I just don’t know how to connect with any resources or helps that might be available. I have suggested calling it a day and trying school, but that’s not an option Motor-biker will consider so I need to do what I can here.

Starting back after a break is always hard – trying to get into a stable routine, getting up early and getting stuck in is a challenge after holidays. But I’m just wondering if I need to re-think our whole way of doing things (again).

When Dragon-tamer was at home, he pretty much taught himself because he was a book lover and found reading easy and fun. Pony-rider is the same, and she is happy to explore her own topics and she’s not one to get bored because she can’t think of anything to do.

The two youngest though, Motor-biker and Baba Zonee, are both struggling readers, get bored very easily and aren’t really interested in anything and certainly wouldn’t pursue their own interests unless they include watching TV or playing computer games. It’s a whole new paradigm for me.

So for the last 2-3 years we have done much more formal lessons than I ever did with the older two, and I thought I was doing the right thing, and that I needed to do it, but I have the overwhelming feeling that none of it is going in at all. They’re still not interested in anything, still not willing to study topics on their own, and they still can’t read.

So I’m still not sure how I will approach tomorrow. I am wondering about abandoning the formal lessons and going back to Sonlight (for anybody not familiar with it, it’s an American, literature-based curriculum which we loved and which I used for years with my older two).

I never needed to do much in the way of formal work with the older two – they just picked it up along the way, and because they were such wide readers, they had no problem with spelling or grammar or writing – it all just came naturally.

Was I wrong to assume that the younger two were different? Should I have given it more time? Would they eventually pick up what they need just by listening to me read to them? I know it’s possible because it happened with my two oldest, but they were readers. Can reading itself be transferred by osmosis? I’m just not sure anymore.

By the way, I’ve added hashtags to the title of this blog post as an experiment, in the hope that they’ll appear when the post automatically feeds through to twitter.

 

 

Half Term

I hardly feel I deserve it, we’ve accomplished so little in terms of verifiable, quantifiable pieces of work this term. We never used to follow the schools term timetable. But somehow, now, I feel I need a break more than ever.

This week and next, Dragon-tamer is home from sixth form college, so it’s nice to have him back again for a little while and I wouldn’t like to waste this special time, since it’s so rare now, in trying to get everybody else to ‘work’.

But I still feel guilty. It seems to me that there’s an enormous amount of guilt attached to motherhood anyway, and doubly so with home education. I can never do quite enough, work quite hard enough, achieve quite the results that will show that homeschooling was the best choice for our family.

But actually when I look at Dragon-tamer, although he’s not as academically advanced as I expected or hoped him to be, I am so pleased and proud of him in other ways: I’m constantly told how polite he is, so well-spoken, so considerate, thoughtful, clever, funny, talented. And I know that academics, or worldly achievements can come later.

When I first started home educating, my priorities were exactly those things. If I had ever had to articulate an ‘ed phil’ document, it would have included things like happiness, and a solid emotional and social foundation above academic achievement and prizes. I have to remind myself these things from time to time.

Uphill Battles

I haven’t posted lately, as we haven’t really done anything noteworthy. Mostly we just potter around, doing individual projects that don’t amount to much.

This week though has seen more than the usual number of meltdowns, inappropriate behaviours and things broken. I’m not sure why. I do try to limit e-numbers and artificial additives. I try to react sympathetically and define boundaries appropriately. But I’m exhausted.

I feel, all in all, as though I am fighting and uphill battle with an opponent who doesn’t want to learn or do anything within the spectrum of ‘normal’. I hate this feeling of being on opposing sides to my children. We are meant to be a team, helping each other.

But this seems to be the reality of dealing with special needs.

Not for the first time, I have wondered whether school might be a better option. But my eldest, who loves 6th form, assures me it wouldn’t be any good at all for M. I know it wouldn’t too. He wouldn’t be able to conform or be quiet or sit still, and I could imagine him being expelled before too long.

CAMHS turned us away twice and we failed to get any kind of diagnosis or statement, so I have no doubt whatsoever that he wouldn’t get the help he needs, unless we were prepared for a long hard fight, in which case, we might as well just carry on the long hard fight at home.

But sometimes, just sometimes, I just wish there was some kind of scheme of respite care for home educators.