As COVID-19 swept the globe from east to west this year, so has home education. Millions of children woke up one morning to find their schools closed and their new teachers are their parents. Learning at home can be a wonderfully liberating and connecting experience for families that choose it but it can also be daunting and exhausting even at the best of times. And let’s face it – this is not the best of times. No one planned for this. And whereas Home Education is usually done more out of the home than in it as families meeting up with others to socialise, play and learn together all that’s off the table right now.
East Kent Sudbury School grew from a group of home educators and as passionate advocates for alternative education we’ve teamed up with our friends at Alpine Valley School in Denver, Colorado to bring you a special podcast season to help you not just survive learning in lockdown but get the most out of this out of school experience.
In Episode 1: Home Education 101 we talk to two long term home educators and find out how learning and home is different to learning at school and get some practical tips for surviving home learning in the lockdown.
In Episode 2: Managing Mental Health & Wellbeing in Lockdown we talk to clinical psychologist Dr. Naomi Fisher about the stresses placed on us by being in lockdown and what we can do to look after our own and our children’s mental health in this time.
In Episode 3: Mind the Gap we talked to Harriet Pattison Phd. about her research into home education and informal learning to find out how children learn at home and how we make the most of this break from school.
In Episode 4: From Teacher to Home Educator we hear from teachers that chose to leave the profession to help children learn outside of school and why. And how, if at all, their teaching experience prepared them for home education.
Episode 5: Deschooling – The Art of Letting Go is all about the process you will see unfold as you and your child adjust to learning outside of school. The thoughts and feelings that arise and the different ways different people react.
In Episode 6: Moving Forwards not Backwards we look at what the educational options are for families post lockdown. If you don’t want to return to conventional schooling what else is out there?
In Episode 7: Democratic Education – The power of the Vote we delve a little deeper into one of the alternatives available and find out why some schools give their students and equal vote on everything.
In Episode 8: Play, play and more play we talk to Henry Readhead from Summerhill School about the value of play and why it shouldn’t be limited.
We talk to Dr. Naomi Fisher again for Episode 9 about children with special educational needs and what their behaviour tells us about the conventional school system.
For our final episode, episode 10: The future of education we asked our previous guests and a few more what their hopes and dreams are for education after lockdown.
The full series is available to listen to below.
In our next episode we’ll be delving deeper into Democratic Education and finding out why some schools give every student a vote and what that means. If you just found yourself unexpectedly home educating and have questions for us to answer – send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more: If you’re considering making a change to your families educational journey following lockdown and want to find out more about the educational choices available to you here are some good places to start:
Advice on Home Education in the UK: Education Otherwise
Network of alternative educational settings in the UK: Freedom to Learn Network
Directory of alternative schools and settings: Progressive Education
More about Self-Directed Education: ASDE
European Democratic Education Community: EUDEC
International Democratic Education Community: IDEC
Alternative Education Resource Organization: AERO
List of Self-Directed Democratic Schools world-wide: Democratic Schools Directory
Interested in how our communities are coping with the lockdown? Check out Alpine Valley’s most recent podcast and our blog post on Medium about how we are keeping our communities together from a distance.