Shhhh…promise not to tell a soul? One month in and there is parts of my Educational Philosophy that I have completely thrown out. But you know what? That’s alright.
As a consultant working with small charities and social enterprises one service I provide is business planning. And one of the first things that I teach them is that a business plan is not something that you write once and stick in a folder somewhere, only to be pulled out when you need to show it to funders. A business plan should be a living, breathing document that changes to fit your organization and the environment in which you operate.
So too should an educational philosophy. What I wrote eight weeks ago to give Emily’s dad and the inspectors at the council was my best guess (that’s right I said guess) of how home-school would work with Emily. I based those guesses like any scientist forming a hypothesis upon my past experience with my older children and the research I had done on changes to home-schooling, especially as they related to my new home in the UK. But like any good scientist or business owner, I have not only the right to change my plan but the obligation to do so when new information comes in.
So what has changed you ask? My understanding of my daughter and her needs. It is one thing to be her mother. It is very easy to observe what the school is or is not doing and think…they should do this differently. It is quite another thing when you are not just her mother but also her teacher. As her mother I love the energy that my daughter has for just about everything in this world. As her teacher, I have the responsibility to ask…is that energy or is it ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
Does that mean I have to stop admiring the way that her eyes light up with every new discovery? Does it mean that I must put a label to her every action? No to both, but it does mean that I have to find a way to as the song from the Sounds of Music says…how do you catch the wind. If asking for help and further investigation from her doctors allows me to better understand how to do that then it becomes a top priority as both her teacher and her mother.
This has one very practical implication for our Educational Philosophy. I had stated in it that I preferred a more formal approach to the core subjects of reading, writing and math. But within a week, I discovered that sitting my little whirl-wind down at a desk and demanding that she color in the lines, write her name and remember certain letters and sounds did not work for her. I was shocked when she told me after a week…”I want to go back to big school. They don’t make me work so hard.”
So I stopped and reconsidered. We found another approach to achieve our objectives. There are a plethora of games available on the Internet that teaches letters and numbers in an interesting way. You can also make learning into a game. One of our objectives was to count to thirty accurately. Emily came up with a way of learning her numbers that she loves. She bounces a balloon up in the air and I count the number of bounces she can do without it falling to the ground. She thinks she is playing, but I know she is learning. And when I look back at her October objectives, it shows that she is. She can now count to thirty fairly well. And all those video games on the computer are giving her the fine motor skills to write her name legibly.
So remember even what we consider the Bible took centuries for scholars to agree on what should and should not be included. And there is still not complete agreement. So why should you be expected to get it right the first time with an Educational Philosophy. Change it as you need to fit your child, your life and your home. It is after all YOUR Educational Philosophy.