Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Home schooling

We’re into our 3rd week of home schooling and it has been…..tiring, thought-provoking, exasperating but most of all very rewarding.

The GB HE school consists of the redoubtable Mrs R who has taken charge of English, Classics, Botany, Biology, Art and Languages (French and South London) whilst I am doing a fearsome impression of Mr Squeers, in charge of aggravated Mathematics, Cane-swishing and Toilet Duties.

In IS’s case, we tolerated far far too long her Steiner education which really began and ended with her very poor teacher. This was emphasised when
started home schooling and we realised that IS had trouble with 3 times table and very simple division - not good for a 10 year-old. At Steiner, it seems that the basics were not covered well - looking back there were cursory lessons on times tables and simple division whereas there was plenty of princes, water sprites and bears swapping bags of gold around in the name of maths. Call me old-fashioned, yes I'm burdened with having been born in the 50's, but the start should be writing letters/words/numbers, spelling and times tables by rote - there, I'm labelled forever. Anyway, for the past 3 weeks, IS has looked so different from the bored, listless girl that was suffering under the Steiner yoke; she is now brighter, more responsive, taking pride in her work and having more confidence and self-esteem. Whoopee!

I did 1½hours quite basic Maths with IS and then…..
…….Some English with ES. 4 weeks ago ES, 7½, could not read more than 20 words and was just learning her numbers from 1 to 20 – though she was damn hot on knowing how much pocket money she should receive. Now, ES knows up to her 4 times table by heart and is doing simple mental addition/subtraction and number ‘games’. On top of that, she is devouring Oxford Reading Tree books and knows 2 Ant and Bee cover-to-cover.

This isn’t to blow our own foghorns but there are 2 salient points to be made here. Firstly, the Steiner system is V E R Y S L O W, which is not a particularly bad system as it works out fine in other countries, but once the child reaches 7 the Steiner system can remain pedantic….unless there is a good teacher. Secondly, for the rest of this term, our girls are getting 1-to-1 tuition which, even with fumbling amateur efforts, is better than the 1-to-20+ state system.

My only regret is that there are some many FAB blogs out there and not enough time to read them at the moment. Que sera sera sera!

No comments: