Millions of children around the world will have had a completely different learning experience over the past 12 weeks. For many it will have been a difficult experience missing the company of their friends, unable to play outside and still others may have been living with the virus and helping to care for loved ones. But for many the break from school has been a relief, and has provided the opportunity, perhaps for the first time, to explore their own interests and learn at their own pace. As we heard from Harriet Pattison in episode 3, there are so many ways to home educate and styles even vary within families from child to child and over time. For many families the lockdown has offered the opportunity to personalise their child’s learning experience in ways they probably never previously imagined.
So, as we all prepare to take our first tentative steps out of lockdown, what will you be taking away from this experience? Some families are using this moment as the time to break from conventional schooling and to find a way for their children to continue to have a more personalised learning journey. This week we talked to Alex O’Neill, a parent who having long since dreamt about home educating her daughter is seizing this opportunity and will be continuing when schools go back. We asked her about her journey and what the reality of finally home educating has been like.
Whilst home education for many families is the easiest and simplest way to give their children the freedom to direct their own education it doesn’t work for all. We asked alternative education advocate and campaigner Danny Whitehouse what other options are available for families wanting to follow an alternative path and what he hopes schools, teachers and parents will take away from their lockdown learning experience.
Guests: Alex O’Neill, parent, IT manager and long-time advocate of freedom in education and Danny Whitehouse Chief Executive at the Charles Burrell Centre, guardian member and company secretary of Phoenix Education and co-founder of Reimagining Education Norfolk.
Read more about Alex’s first forays into Home Education in lockdown and Danny’s thoughts on why now is the time to rethink education for our children on the Medium Blog: Learning in the time of Corona.
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
All our previous episodes are still available to listen to from the Lockdown Learning page. Over the next few episodes we delve more deeply into some of the topics introduced so far. We find out more about Democratic Education and how having a vote empowers students to the emotional and social benefits of free play with Henry Readhead of Summerhill School.