HelloI'm a home educator of 6 years and was surprised and pleased to discover this board. The post about unqualified teachers has prompted me to chip in with my two pennyworth (if that's the phrase). Actually I've just written the following short article for the Education Otherwise newsletter, and I hope it makes people think twice about the need for qualified teachers for home educated children:WHAT I DID ON MY HOLIDAYSEvery summer for the last 10 years, our family has spent 2 weeks working as voluntary wardens for the Youth Hostels Association. In exchange for some admin work and a couple of hours cleaning a day volunteer wardens get free accommodation and travel expenses. It's a very sociable job and not too hard, although the accommodation can leave a bit to be desired, depending on your standards. But, for educational value, you really can't beat it. Leaving aside all the things you normally do on holiday during the day (which you can still do, as you're free during the day), what I found fascinating was the evenings round the log fire. After a couple of evenings of cosy chatting with hostellers from around the world, I realised (don't quite know why it's taken me 10 years to realise this) that these fireside chats (or “conversational learning” as educational experts would call them) was education as its very best. The richest person in the world couldn't buy education as good as this. Over the course of a week, we had visitors from Holland, Australia, Germany, Ireland, UK, and France.Our evening conversations covered many and varied topics. We learned from one hosteller, Charles, how didgeridoos are made and played, and the pros, cons and profitability of busking. And how passing dogs react to an unexpected blast from his instrument (they jump really high). Our interest prompted him to bring his 3 “didges” from his dormitory for our son, Bobby, to touch and play. Unfortunately hostels don't allow dogs so he couldn't demonstrate the didge-dog trick.Rolf, an entertaining if somewhat salacious hosteller (this last trait enhanced by Avid Merrion accent) from Holland was more than happy to answer the many questions of 2 teenaged female hostellers, although we suspected some of his answers were a bit skewed (we can't quite believe that the main difference between the English and the Dutch is that the Dutch all wear leather underwear). Other hostellers shared their passions and specialist subjects with us and we learnt about Australian wildlife and property prices (rocketing but still affordable if you go a few miles inland); what to do with the rabbit we found in the grounds with mixamatosis and how to do it without the 2 little girls in the hostel finding out (clue: it involved an axe); ghost villages requisitioned by the army during WWII; carpentry on listed buildings; things to do in Cambridge; recent discharge of sewage into the Thames: its cause and consequences; drystone walling (think of it as a 3 dimensional jigsaw made out of stones); excavation of artefacts/crystals/corpses (Charles showed us some of his “finds” - crystals not corpses, much to the disappointment of younger hostellers); Devon wildlife; the education system in Germany (home education illegal!); the future of youth hostels (independent hostels now giving YHA run for its money – YHA needs to redefine itself, we decided).Throw in a few games of Scrabble and international Jenga plus swimming and cycling during the day, and you'd be hard-pressed to spend a more educational week. And not a teacher in sight! (actually that's not quite true - there was one staying in the hostel but all he seemed to talk about was SATs, budgets, special needs, league tables, A-Cs, zzzzzzzzzzzz ....).KC.
© Copyright 1998-2013, The Motley Fool Limited. All rights reserved. This material is for personal use only.The Motley Fool, Fool, and the "Fool" logo are registered trademarks of The Motley Fool, Inc.Place of Reg: England & Wales. Company Reg No: 3736872. VAT Reg No: 945 6990 68. Registered Office: 5th Floor, 60 Charlotte Street London W1T 2NU.
Page load time and server: