When we talk about learning through play we often think of a small child playing in sand and mud. But learning through play is for all ages. Somewhere in late primary school and certainly by secondary school we spend more time in front a teacher or computer than learning with hands on play. This is a real shame as the best learning is done through conducting experiments and gaining a real understanding of the way things happen and why. There is research to show that this, in fact, is the best way to learn.
There is only so much that be can learnt through reading books. The confidence and true understanding comes when actually doing something hands on. I'm sure we all remember Driving a car for the first time, a new job or even starting a new hobby. We start with being really conscious of everything we do but aftertime we become more confident and fluent at doing it. This can only come through the practical hands on experience of doing something.
In our home educating, we try to do practical learning and playing, as much as the sit down studying. We use some fantastic online programs and love the information that comes from reading books, but we always try to back up the things we have learnt with playing and having fun.
In Physics we have been studying 'Forces'. We have been looking into Newtons laws of motion and how force is part of everything around us. Everywhere we go I try to get Violet to think about why things move, or what force makes things stop. The park provides us with lots of learning experiences on this subject. We talk about how the swings move, how different size people might effect the motion and what makes it stops. All this can be applied when using the roundabout as well. Plus we all have fun playing at the same time and get some much needed fresh air.
Violet also went to Kilve court on a home ed field trip, this week, to build rockets and launch them across fields. She enjoyed building the rocket with fellow children and seeing what factors make a rocket go the furthest.
Also in science we have been looking at cells and how they are in all living things. We have been using the online resources, work books but we have also being playing a board game about cells. It is a question and answer type game. You move along the game answering questions about cells and the player to reach the end first wins. Violet has challenged everyone to a game and knows all the answers. Without realising it she has learnt the difference between plant and animal cells and what all the parts of a cell are called and what is their purpose.
In literature we have been focusing our topic on 'spring'. We are following a 5 week programme which starts with looking into, and understanding, Wordworths poem 'I wondered lonely as a cloud'. This is a beautiful poem and Violet has got to grips with the language used and has been able to write a modern day version of it. Sticking to this theme she has gone for a walk with a friend to find spring flowers and then spent sometime learning to paint flowers. The results of this is a beautiful canvas for the wall and a nice, relaxed Violet.
We have also being using the talents of my sister, who is passionate about horses. She has been taking Violet for horse riding lessons and teaching her about horse management. She is gaining great confidence in riding and caring for the horses and loves spending the day with her Aunt once a week.
Violet and Mark have spent an afternoon making a spinning art machine. This is, again, reinforcing her learning about force but is also teaching her about patience, team work and reading instructions carefully. They both enjoyed this time together building and Dawson really enjoyed painting with the end result.
One of the benefits of Home educating is the ability to do more hands on/ outdoor learning. This helps us connect the classroom knowledge with the outside world and creates a greater understanding and confidence of our topics. It gives Violet the opportunity to navigate the world and to identify her limitations and capabilities.