Friday, 3 February 2012


There are times when I worry about whether my children are learning anything. There are probably times like this most days. And yet they seem to know a fair amount and to surprise me with odd pieces of information or understanding, yet sometimes it seem that this has come about by accident. I am a Physics teacher by training and my eight-year-old daughter decided it was time that she learnt some Physics. She has been badgering me for a while and I had promised her some on Monday morning. I had given it no thought,perhaps hoping that she would forget, and it seemed easiest to start at the beginning of the GCSE course which I have been teaching two private students. Heat transfer. She has a good idea of what heat actually is - the small particles of which matter is made wobbling - and so we started from there and talked about how this wobbling would be passed along, one particle bumping in to the next and causing it to wobble too. We acted it out in the kitchen, she wrote a few sentences (hand-writing practice covered too!) and we filled a flask, a thermal mug and a coffee cup with water from the kettle. An hour later we came back to see if they were cool. Simple, quick, effective. So often I am anxious about all that I miss, but it is these grabbed moments that make up the patchwork fabric of their education.

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