I believe there can be immediate change… continued from November 2022 edition p22.
We can tweak our education system (ok being honest it’s an ‘overhaul’ gig), however, great change is rather simple in small footsteps, simply a change of perspective. A change of what has been ingrained in us by society. Change is essential to move with our evolving society, especially our eﬀervescent young souls of today.
To think of how society has evolved in the last 100 years, we have gone from: horse and cart to the amazing vehicles of today; candlestick phones to rotary phones to mobile phones/facetime across the globe; or even the fact we now have multiple bathrooms per house that even one bathroom per house was uncommon beginning of last century!
YET our ancestors sat in lines and rows being drummed information that ‘higher up’ decided was pertinent for a well-rounded successful individual or receive an ‘F’. Compare that to today, children are still often sat in lines and rows, drummed information from a set national curriculum that must be achieved in order to be a well-rounded individual OR receive an ‘F’.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe in being literate and numerate however the overflowing curriculum doesn’t even hold a candle to the extent of valuable learning in the world today! Sadly the curriculum became so overwhelming that life lessons were lost, student-led enquiries were only words on paper and grades became oppressive. Not to mention poor teachers stretched to their limits by unrealistic expectations.
The statistics of engagement don’t lie. The word on the street doesn’t lie. So many families are dealing with disengaged children/youth, with my own family a statistic. So rather than remain a statistic with disengaged children, my journey in understanding the importance of lifeschooling grew as my children grew. We were an eclectic family of school attendance due to learning complexities, until 2017 when we travelled Oz and this was the first official time we ‘schooled’ for an extended period outside of mainstream education.
We truly were wild and free to school how we chose, yet we still continued with our passion for reading our family novel to the boys each day, journalling our travels, singing our times tables in the car between Bungle Bungle Ranges and Broome, yet everything else was in the moment and challenging beliefs. The moment of visiting a sacred site with the desire to learn more evolving from the experience. Or the moment of visiting the oil tunnels in Darwin with further wonderings about the war, linking this to their own great-grandfather who served/injured in WWII, never speaking of this to the boys which then provoked further wonderings of mental health of veterans. Or the moment of planning the week ‘oﬀ the grid’ menu, shopping, budgeting, perishable foods which led to survival skills in the outback investigations.
THIS IS LIFESCHOOLING! Learning IN the moment, what sparks interest and when guided to follow their nose, explore wonderings, the curriculum ALWAYS is apparent. It isn’t definitive. It isn’t linear. Education needs to provide space for wonderings and support investigations. Unforgettable learning is quintessential for modern day education.
The boys lit up day after day, like sponges absorbing more information from rolling investigations, learning IN the moment not ‘what’ outcomes must be attained. The wonderings they had were oﬀ the scale amazing. It opened my eyes to a system I knew so well from the inside, yet from the outside as a parent, was crushing the souls of my children. I climb mountains to ensure they remain happy/healthy and thus after exhausting mainstream secondary education (short lived), we now happily lifeschool at home as registered ‘homeschoolers’!
Lifeschooling our boys, mentoring schools and homeschooling families with individualised learning journeys, I have witnessed greater engagement, immense intrinsic motivation, increased percentage of student re-engagement. Regardless of mainstream, homeschool, distance education or alternative learning, we can ALL lifeschool. My dream is to hear constant stories of reduced anxiety, harnessing our amazing selves and overall, never having to explain ourselves other than ‘this is my zezzwah’.
- Lifeschooling is life-long learning.
- Lifeschooling is about challenging our own thinking by reflecting on varying beliefs and opinions of others, which in turn teaches respect and empathy for others, building emotional intelligence (EQ).
- Lifeschooling is investigating life. It’s not about what one career we need to choose, it’s about writing a list of dreams and asking ourselves which one to explore first!
- Lifeschooling is limitless, ageless and lasts a lifetime!
And to think, it all started many years ago when I wrote one quote in a mental health essay for uni that forever stuck with me… by John Dewey “Education is Life Itself’.