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Home schooling

Posted by Nanny Knows Best
Nanny Knows Best
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on Friday, 04 July 2014
Would you, could you, home school your child if money wasn’t an issue and you had the time and patience to teach reading, writing and arithmetic?

It’s not a simple YES or NO. The complexities are numerous and the consequences even more so. Outsourcing your child’s future is a primary consideration for every parent. Getting it right is not always straight forward.

A healthy bank account does not guarantee the most expensive schools provide individuality for your child and his/her needs?  Ditto with residing in a desirable school district. What these options offer is a sense of assurance, even when such institutions may not suit personality and talent.

What a school environment does provide and instil (hopefully in a healthy way) is routine, community and an opportunity to develop strong social and problem solving skills for the future.

Humans are social beings and interaction with others is a necessary aspect for happiness. Best friends, boy/girlfriends, business associates, band members et al have all been found in school playgrounds.

A home schooled child misses out on this much like an only child grows up in isolation. I am not saying either is ideal but possibly the former is easier for all concerned.

A previous boss once announced she had terrible news “…school holidays are three weeks, not two”. We all have our limits.

Cartoonist and philosopher, Michael Leunig, home schooled his two children for ten years “because they wanted to”.

"Having the top score at 18 isn't going to help if you have a nervous breakdown at 40. Life is a long time, much deeper and more serious than A-levels," he says

Poignant from a man with the luxury to cherish time with his offspring and to inspire them with a passion for learning.

Although he wouldn't tout home schooling - unless someone was already interested in the philosophy - he believes it has a special place in a climate where we cling to awards systems and standardised testing.

So while he and other kindred advocates relish in this path, it opens an interesting discussion for the rest of us who must conform to working away from home with hours not conducive to being both parent and teacher.

And some of us are even downright relieved to have a break from children.


Posted by Nanny Knows Best
Nanny Knows Best
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on Monday, 24 February 2014
If you are having a little trouble uncovering the inner-workings of one of your charges, I suggest playing a game. It can provide you with clues about a particular behaviour and other personality concerns.

My choice was a world championship table tennis marathon. Ideal for young Andrew, who is active, competitive, and has excellent dexterity. Actually, it was his decision over a game of chess or basketball.

For a boy of nine, I discovered he is quite cautious. No wild bashing or swings, preferring accuracy to taking a chance.

He has a sharp mind for keeping score but I already knew that. Just wanted to test him. I can trust him absolutely as he has no interest in winning dishonestly and there are no hysterics when he does lose.

Just quietly, I was the one who made a song and dance over a winning game whilst Andrew calmly accepted defeat with no need to gloat when he thrashed me 4-1.

Possibly a future champion but he would have to decide between karate and chess and swimming and football and all the others he excels in. My joy is that I can see a lovely soul and a wonderful man in years to come.

A personality shines through not just when there is homework to be done, chores to attend to or requests to be carried out. Sometimes it is easier and calmer to work out and work through an issue without the former pressure.

Games and play provide a fun and relaxed environment to discuss a niggling concern. Even constructing an intricate Lego masterpiece or simply rearranging furniture in a dollhouse is a great opportunity to get a child to open up. No need for an interrogation. A question or comment to start in between the play is enough. Patience is the key, so keep it short and expect more than one session.

Nanny lesson over. I need to attend to serious table tennis training before our next marathon. Not that I have any issues being outclassed by a nine-year-old.

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