Alison O’Riordan compiled a lovely Irish Independent article from three different Irish experiences. The families all seem to follow their passions by “sharing the learning journey”.
Monica O’Connor and Eddie O’Neill have six children and were inspired by John Holt’s thoughts on compulsory schooling and education.
Homeschool of thought
I love homeschooling my children and have done so for the past 20 years. I can’t imagine putting a four-year-old in a school uniform – I’d miss them and all their chatter and wonder.
The Irish Independent also reported on Dan and Maureen Arnold and their two teen girls.
As we were raising our two girls, they seemed happy and healthy. So, when it came to ‘going to school’ (our local primary school, an excellent one, is literally about 150 metres from our front door), we decided to carry on raising our eldest girl as we had been doing, and to do so for another year and to see how things would pan out.
By then, we had heard of home education, and we decided to, again, carry on as before, raising our girls with love and care, irrespective of whether they were aged two, five, 10 or older.
Myself and my wife have loved homeschooling. We both love being with our children and with each other, so home education was a perfect fit for us. We educated ourselves about a whole wide range of topics and school and home education. Class size was one of many considerations.
Barry and Angelica Grant have a younger family than the other two, but also enjoy the “co-learning journey”.
One of the many facets of home education that we find beneficial is that our children do not have to be compared to or compete with their peers in terms of educational ‘outcomes’.
We do not follow a curriculum, but instead try to provide an environment where autonomous learning can occur, allowing them to explore the areas in which their own innate interests and abilities lie.
And so our days are not defined by structure and enforced studying. Therefore, we do not take holidays as such but rather continue on at the same pace all year round. The children are free to put down and pick up their books and whatever they might be working on as they please.
The family learning philosophies are explained well. The distinct individuality of each household and their unique interests are celebrated.
John Holt on learning:
Suppose we were in the midst of a group of people, and found after a while that most of their talk was about breathing: “You are breathing very well today.” “He breathes wonderfully, don’t you agree?” “I am breathing better, but not as well as I should.” “How can we all improve our breathing?” Would we not soon think that these people must all be sick, or just recovering from some trouble with their lungs? Otherwise, why make such a fuss about what healthy people do naturally? -1974