16 June 2012

Ideas of Education

As a parent of a awesome eight year old, education of my progeny is always on my mind. Relying on my past experiences of education and learning, I dislike the idea and execution of  so called "public education". As someone who "has" had "ADHD" since age six, education was a horrible experience for me. I try to learn from those experiences to help my son have a happier experience and to actually learn things that are important to being a happy human being, not just some cog in a society formed to be the best cog he can be.

I, with help from my wife, educated our son from birth till 6 years old. We home schooled him for kindergarten and half of first grade. Due to economic reasons we had to enroll him into "public school" for the second half of first grade and then upon moving back to Alaska enrolled him into second grade. His experiences in first and second were better, due mostly to understanding teachers, but was still overall slightly rough.

The biggest problem was his behavior. He's impulsive and is learning to control those impulses. Not having had to control them, or learned to control them due to his home school environment, he is progressing as anyone could expect. Of course, his development in comparison to his peers is delayed because while they were learning to be a good cog in society, he was still allowed to be free to be impulsive. Now being presented with a more strict structure, he is adapting to it.

There are many alternatives to "education". I've tried the home school approach and while it may work for older children who know what they may want, I'm still exploring other options for educating him.

Currently I'm exploring "unschooling". The concept is a simple one. Rather then forcing a child to develop through curriculum, allow the child to learn through the natural process of child development. Taking games and play to teach things to children and allow them to self direct the process.

When I discuss with my son about his choices of education, I often show him that he has two options, the "regular school" option and a "home school" option. The only consistent complaint I hear from him on the idea of "home school" is that he won't get to play with his friends. So in designing the 'what to do next' phase of his education, I need to find him other children of the similar age group, or learning group so that in the between times in learning he has a small select group of children to play with.

My mind falls back to my experience when trying to solve this problem. Create a small group of third graders to come together on a regular basis to learn and play together. So that's what I'm looking at doing.