Informal Learning

Part 2 - Homeschool Education

This is part two - informal learning - of Paula Cleary's article about homeschool education and looking at education myths. For part one see Children's minds are empty vessels.

2. Informal learning is not as important as formal learning

Were the children learning yesterday, when they did a crossword in CAPITAL LETTERS ( they are still learning these) all by themselves (once I started them off) in a Scooby Doo magazine?

If I were being an educational puritan and snob, I could scoff at this, but what is the difference between that, and the same crossword in a workbook?

We could have got out our Montessori boards with the sandpaper capitals on, tracing our fingers over B and saying 'This is B'...... the children would have very quickly switched off and quite rightly walked off and done something more meaningful and less patronising!!! Or we could have sat at the table with me forcing them to sit still and concentrate with much stress and coercement and resentment on both sides.

There is this ridiculous notion that learning should involve sacrifice, otherwise it can't be really worth doing. It should be boring, a struggle, an endurance, a stoic battle to conquer our stupid minds with all this useless but somehow important knowledge. If it is fun to learn, if it comes too easily, if you are actually having a good time whilst learning then this must surely be the soft stuff.....

Necessary Medicine

People who think like this just want to inflict their own misery upon others, thinking of all this education as some necessary medicine for our children's souls, preparing them for adult life with all it's bureaucracy and useless training programmes and pointless but necessary work practices and policies. People say things like 'The kids had better get used to it because that's what the working world is like'..... In other words, rather than allow children to enjoy their learning and childhood, let's prepare them now for the adult world which is competitive, and full of petty bureaucracy, the world of paperwork, deadlines, targets etc....

It strikes me in so many ways, that school is just a rat-race for juniors. And lots of parents are pushing their children down this conveyor belt buying into the fear that if their kids don't keep up the pace, they'll end up on the next conveyor belt along, the one which is going slower........ or worse still the conveyor belt that points the other way altogether.

continued...3. Learning can only take place between 9 and 3.

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