The past couple of months have been busy, and hence I haven’t written much on the blog. It has been all for good reasons, but lots of moving around between different places – which lends itself beautifully to a home education lifestyle, but does get a little tiring. Internet connectivity is also somewhat erratic.
I saw this post on the recent tendency to neglect play as an educational tool for the under fives. I was quite surprised reading it; how on earth do you educate young children without a component of play? I think of most of the things I do with the boys, and play forms a part of almost all of them. It is through imaginative play that ideas and questions start to flow, and these are followed by trips to the library, art gallery or museum (or other relevant location) to further explore those ideas. These are then built upon and consolidated, but in almost everything, there is a strong component of interactive play. I’ve posted recently about languages, and they are doing well with their Spanish; again, songs, dances, games and other activities that could be considered ‘play’ have a major role in the method used. I do not think my children are backwards or childish through having this style of education, but rather I believe we are embracing their discovery of the world in an age-appropriate manner. Even the building blocks of literacy and numeracy include games – often impromptu ones, involving addition or subtraction of different kinds of duck, recognising bus numbers, working out the cost of items and the change expected.
When I first explored home education, I read a paper which in part mentioned Brazillian street children, who could do incredible mental arithmetic in the marketplace, yet who floundered at far more basic activities done with pen and paper in a classroom style setting. One of my boys has that type of mind. If you ask him something off the cuff whilst out and about, he is almost always correct. But as soon as he knows you are testing him, he either gets anxious and makes foolish errors, or just pretends to be a bit daft and says the opposite of what is right. He flourishes when learning is seamless with enjoyable, fun, day to day activities which include a large amount of exploring, adventure, and yes, ‘play’.