I was recently sent a thought-provoking and inspiring clip by a friend of mine who also home educates. I sometimes feel a little isolated in my choices, a little different, a little on the edge. I have had three home-births and breastfed all my children for over a year, I home educate and have room in my mind for the possibility of a seven-day creation. All of these things have led me into some sticky conversations over the years. Those of you who know me personally will know that I am not shy in stating my opinions and that I sometimes get quite worked up about those things I feel passionate about. I am also not above occasionally "poking the ants' nest" out of sheer mischief.
While I am always more than happy to explain my choices and to hear the thoughts of others, I am frequently irritated by comments dismissing my attitude as naive, simplistic or poorly thought through. What I find refreshing about hearing something like the clip below is the sense it gives me of being somewhere on a spectrum, so that, while I can feel separated from the 'norm', I can know that there are plenty of other opinions out there between mine and this 'norm', and also opinions far more extreme than my own. These positions are not held out of sheer stubbornness or delusion, these are not people who believe in fairies, but have evidence to support what they say and can state their arguements with clarity and with passion.
The clip just over twenty-one minutes, and if that is too long, jump in at 9:40 and watch for just two minutes. In this section, he tells the story of a world-wide community of children supporting each other in learning the electric guitar. No adults, no tutors, just the kids themselves. It's a scary example of what learners can be without any kind of teacher. It rocks my sense of needing to be in control.
This week I had put aside some time to work with my little girl on her sewing. I know nothing about sewing and don't like it much, but I wanted to help her to develop in an area she is excited about. After watching this clip, I sat her down with YouTube and found her some sewing films. And I left her to it. She has made her doll a skirt, a t-shirt and decorated them too. It's not much, but it's something and while she has learned more textile techniques, I have learned a little more about letting go.
I have deliberately posted this at the weekend so that you may, if you are interested, find twenty-one minutes, maybe with a cup of tea, to watch and listen. If you want to think more about our school system, if you are willing to be challenged just a little, and maybe disagree, then sit back, enjoy and marvel at the educational spectrum that is more than just schools. I for one, would love to dare to do less, to value more the engagement of my children and to see more "a-ha" moments and less "oh no."