Thursday, January 15, 2009

No crunchin' here

The economic downturn could be about to hit schools and children's services, a government committee has warned. Education in the Kilner house continues as normal, on the other hand - mostly gratis!

A bit more Maths workbook has been done, and much playing with the abacus has ensued, with natural learning tumbling from that. "Look, I've made some rows of sixes here. Six sixes! I'm going to count them all.." etc. I never did get to the end of Lockhart, which I thought I'd read to the end before but it turned out I'd abandoned it halfway through that time too. Does he provide any solutions, in the end? I suppose he must, and I must read it eventually. It's here on my browser, but I'm procrastinating.

Lyddie has been quietly developing her reading too. I noticed last night that she had a Dr Seuss book in bed with her and was working through the words with her finger, whilst I read my book. I have to pretend not to notice when she's doing these things, or she stops and asks me to read to her instead.

A few days ago, she asked me what other countries looked like, so we did some google image searches and found some stunning landscape shots from different parts of the world. Then we got chatting about buildings, particularly major ones in the capital cities.

We compared, for example, the Pentagon with the Houses of Parliament and the Kremlin:

and wondered about the startling differences in style between the three.

Lyddie wants to learn something about the North and South Poles next, especially to google for images of them. She loves the process of keying something in and seeing what comes up.

We spent a lot of time relating all of these pictures to maps, starting with this page and looking at the different sections, according to her request. She's very keen to know the shape of certain countries, and what other counties they're near, and how a person might get there.

The teenagers are still quietly learning too: Zara and I were watching a flock of seagulls flying below the kitchen window the other day and she explained the science to me of how they each know where to fly, without crashing or going the wrong way. (I wonder if she'd like to read Jonathon Livingston Seagull?) She went on to explain how it works with swarms of insects and shoals of fish too. Apparently a fish has the equivalent of a line of ears all down its spine? Makes my back go tingly!

I love the fact that they're free to pursue that kind of knowledge for no other reason than curiosity and the pleasure of learning.

Our home ed meetings have started again and are a great success. Very busy! With lots of new families and children of all ages. We're very happy with the way they're going.

Oh and finally, some shared painting:

We can, I promise you, afford more than one piece of paper! But the pleasure of this was apparently in the cooperation.


Blogger Augustin Moga said...

Well, if Lyddie set her eyes on the extremities of our planet, she might enjoy viewing some snowflake pictures: like these ones.

9:36 am, January 15, 2009  
Blogger lotusbirther said...

That is a great set of links Augustin Moga. We have just been reading another section on the site - No two alike? Very interesting indeed!

9:47 am, January 15, 2009  
Blogger Riaz said...

I'm wondering what the impact of the recession will have on home education. Do you think there will be an increase or a decrease in the number of home educated children in 3 or 4 years time?

3:13 pm, January 15, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

Thanks Augustin, I will show those to her :-)

Riaz, an increase I think, because more people will be without jobs, and standards in state schools can only decline further due to lack of funds.

Many people with children in fee-paying schools will be reviewing their options, and may opt to home educate instead of using state schools.

What do you think?

6:25 pm, January 15, 2009  
Blogger Riaz said...

It's difficult to say. There was an increase in the number of parents sending their children to fee paying schools in the last recession of the early 90s. The number of home educated children was next to nothing back then so a comparison cannot be made. I'm wondering how badly the phasing out of income support will affect home education.

The recession will impact badly on the public sector due to a shrinking tax base. Some councils have imposed a recruitment freeze and are looking at cutting back spending. I think schools will have their budgets slashed and children who require SEN services will bear the brunt of it.

7:51 pm, January 15, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

It probably depends on how bad the recession/depression will be, doesn't it? If this analysis is right, there just won't be any money for schooling at all. It's kind of difficult to imagine a world like that now though, isn't it?

I think the phasing out of Income Support might negatively affect home education numbers, but only if there are jobs available for those people moved onto JSA to take. The government is offering bribes to employers, but that deal is only as good as the Government's money.

I hope people don't rush to put their children into school, just because of the Income Support changes, but I suspect some will be more or less forced to.

8:30 pm, January 15, 2009  
Blogger Riaz said...

These bribes won't be any more effective than re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

Watch the parenting forums for instances of HE parents sending their children to school because of the demise of IS.

9:13 pm, January 15, 2009  
Blogger these boots said...

Those snowflake links are fab, thanks Augustin Moga. And just what we needed after watching Earth: Power of the Planet an discovering that every snowflake is different.

A is also fascinated by maps but in a very 'real' sense, like Lyddie, wanting to know about journeys, and what the landscape is like, rather than the positioning of things. I bought her a physical map poster which has snow at the poles, and mountains in the right places, and sand on the deserts etc, and she refers to it quite often.

4:15 pm, January 17, 2009  
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1:38 pm, February 27, 2009  

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