In part two of our look at the required Educational Philosophy, we will look at the core component: the philosophy section itself. This section basically answers the W and H questions: what, where, when and how. The ‘who’ and ‘why’ were basically covered last week in The Child section.
The ‘what’ in this all are the subjects that you will be covering. While you are not required to follow any set curriculum, it would be a good idea to check out the National Curriculum that sets out the standards for all schools operating in England. It can be found at http://curriculum.qcda.gov.uk/ . There are thirteen subjects, eleven of which are required (statutory). These include:
• Art & design
• Citizenship (not required)
• Design & technology
• Physical Education
• Personal, social and health education (not required)
• Religious education
All of that can seem a bit daunting until you realize the scope of some activities. For instance, Emily and I went on an exploration walk the other day. We just left the house and walked until we found our way home. Well, geography and the idea of streets, directions and maps were checked off first. We counted things along the way so there goes maths. Physical education is almost as certain as geography. We spoke to several older people and discussed how important it is to be a good neighbour, so there is citizenship and personal/social development. The purpose of the whole thing was to collect leaves and explore the changes of the season; there is science. And we did a leaf rub when we came home so check off art and design too. By my count, we easily covered half of the subject in that hour and a half. Of course, we will all place different priorities on different subjects as well and this is a good place to talk about what yours are and why.
The ‘when’ and ‘where’ can be a bit trickier to nail down with home education. With traditional schooling, learning is something that happens in the classroom between nine and three or so. But the truth is that home-schooling is a life-style. It is something that is occurring from the moment you get out of bed in the morning (eating a healthy breakfast is health education and making your bed is personal development and citizenship) until you go back to bed at night. Everything we do is a chance to teach and learn. Whether we are at home sitting quietly at our desk, out for an exploration like Dora or making a piñata for our Halloween party, we are learning new things constantly. That is one thing that my daughter does complain about…always working. So it is our jobs to make it fun for them.
The ‘how’ is simply the chance for you to explain some of the resources you will be using. Resources can be many different things though. Of course, we have books and workbooks, but the computer and websites such as PBSKids and CBeebies are indispensible ones too. I know that parents have wildly differing views on television, but for our family we utilize this as another tool in our arsenal of resources. Our maker boxes overflowing with reusable items, glue, paints and paper are resources too. Even our new hamster, Nibbles, is a resource to teach Emily responsibility (citizenship and personal/social development). How you choose to allocate those resources is important to consider too. I use resources like the computer and television to free up a few moments of my day to do things like cleaning and checking client emails. If appropriately used anything can be a wonderful resource.
Next week, we will finish up this series with a look at how we measure success or the Outcomes and Evaluation tools that we have chosen to use. Until then happy home-schooling.