Monday, January 15, 2007

In praise of autonomous home ed ( - again!)

I've just spent the most delicious 20 mins back in bed with Lyddie after she woke, having a story 'read' to me: Mr Clumsy. She 'reads' them to me by memory, after I've read them to her, and she gets all the words mixed up in the most adorable way, e.g. "'Whoops!' said a wuffled voice from inside the laundry basket." I don't know how a muffled voice becomes a wuffled voice in her mind, but it always does!

Then she stretches languidly - at 10.30am, and declares that she feels like getting up. I've been up since about 8ish today, pottering around while they slept. Ali just got up, removed a caught mouse from a humane trap and fixed his sister's PC. He's gone off with the camera now. I don't know what he's planning to photograph but he asked me some technical details about how it worked that I didn't know the answer to, so I gave him the manual as well.

I haven't seen the other teens yet, but I guess Tom will have worked late into the night on his graphic design project and Zara just seems to need a lot of sleep at the moment. They go in phases with their sleep patterns and are very healthy and relaxed for being allowed to do so. Zar's latest craze is knitting, so we're off to buy more wool soon as well as other things.

I love this way of living and can't imagine ever going back to living by the clock and the timetable. Especially in respect of sleeping and waking: it seems, with hindsight, barbaric to wake a child in order to get them to school or to start lessons, though I imagine a person's sleep-cycle can be successfully manipulated to fit requirements. This always seemed difficult though in the few years my teens were at school as young children. We were invariably the last to arrive and mornings were definitely not pleasant. Maybe there's some knack to the-bit-before-school/work that I never quite grasped, even though I am a morning person and am often up by choice from 5 or 6am.

This brings to mind the recent publication of Neuroscience research by Prof Russell Foster, a "chronobiologist" at Oxford University, about which he says: "The teenage brain is a "work in progress" and needs extra sleep," but I would contend that a brain - and indeed a body - of any age is a "work in progress" and needs as much sleep as it happens to need, whenever it needs it.

It also needs, ideally, to be free to follow its interests and natural curiosity and to learn what, when and how it wants to learn at the perfect time in its unique development. This is surely the most "efficient full-time education suitable to age, ability and aptitude, and to any special educational needs," from which a person could possibly benefit.

8 Comments:

Blogger mamadillo said...

Got lots of thoughts about how I agree with this in theory but it doesn't pan out in practice, but they're not coherent enough atm! I have a bit of a noise sensitivity thing, the living in a mid-atlantic time-zone thing is fine until we have to go somewhere else for a certain time of day and now we have house guinea pigs in dd2's room I'm not certain it's all that healthy for them if dd1 and 2 are knocking about in there 'til silly o'clock. Plus I think there's a big evening meme that stops me getting stuff done past a certain time, especially when dh is around, and if I'm allowing people the space to sleep until they're ready to get up that cuts down on the daytime time when I can do vaccing and sorting of rooms upstairs. Really don't know why that is, my mum used to do stuff like decorating after everyone else had gone to bed. Oh well!

11:53 am, January 15, 2007  
Blogger Ruth said...

LOL - two of my lot are still snoring away after a hard night of doing inteersting things. I cannot imagine doing a school run -it would kill them and me:)

12:06 pm, January 15, 2007  
Blogger Mother Damnable said...

Happy Mondays !

make the most of them, Children grow up SO quickly :>)

12:56 pm, January 15, 2007  
Blogger Amanda said...

WE always had problems getting to school on time. It was awful rushing everyone around dragging them out in the cold. My lot are usually up around 7-8 am by choice, its very different to a few years ago :0)

4:55 pm, January 15, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

I think there's a noise-sensitivity issue Trog. My mum could never sleep unless there was perfect silence in the house no matter how tired she was, and I know other people like that. I think I'm very lucky in that I can, which certainly helps because there's always at least one nocturnal person around here. Not usually me though.

8:48 pm, January 15, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With respect what happens when your children get jobs?

8:06 pm, January 16, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

The older two have had jobs. My older son spent a year when he had to be at work for 6am, between the ages of 15 and 16. Never involved me at all. He needed absolutely no help in motivating himself to get up, or actually getting up, in good time for work and to my knowledge he was usually early and never late.

LOL, I guess that wasn't the kind of answer you expected, Anonymous?

8:32 pm, January 16, 2007  
Blogger Ruth said...

Yes my lot can get up if they have to be somewhere with no chivving. However the world will always need nightshift workers with the ability to be alert all night. Not all jobs are between 8 am- 5 pm:)

8:56 pm, January 16, 2007  

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