Holding the space

by Lilia Efimova on 25 April 2015

Holding space means protecting the boundaries so that people can work. Harold Jarche

As I read this it adds up to another article on holding space and then things fall into places – this is the biggest part of my job in facilitating unschooling.

I don’t really give lessons. And I do less focused facilitation than I’d like to. Often it feels that Robert has more intense sessions with the kids than I do, helping them to learn programming, looking into space missions or exploring ancient myths. So sometimes I feel not fully satisfied because I’m not able to pinpoint in traditional terms what exactly I do.

Holding the spaceI make sure our kids have exposure to the world, time and space, safety and fun, food, movement, books, building blocks, art supplies, tools and toys. I help to negotiate rules and exceptions from those, to prevent or resolve conflicts, to make appointments and to get to people and places. I do all kinds of things “meta” –  keep eyes on meta-learning, observe, document, reflect and get others in the loop.

Most of the work kids do themselves. It’s their learning and I’m holding the space for them.

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Heather Plett writes on holding space in a totally different context, but it’s well worth reading. She shares a few lessons learnt that I’d like to explore further:

1. Give people permission to trust their own intuition and wisdom.
2. Give people only as much information as they can handle.
3. Don’t take their power away.
4. Keep your own ego out of it.
5. Make them feel safe enough to fail.
6. Give guidance and help with humility and thoughtfulness.
7. Create a container for complex emotions, fear, trauma, etc.
8. Allow them to make different decisions and to have different experiences than you would.

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Scaffolding on a slide

by Lilia Efimova on 18 April 2015

UntitledI posted this on Facebook, but want to have it here, because FB is new email, where knowledge goes to die together with memories, classification and ability to find your own stuff back.

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Anna was scared to go sliding. So those two boys had built a sand ‘dam’ for her to shorten the slide, tested it, convinced her to try it and then were removing sand each time she went – until she wasn’t afraid anymore. And then I had a reason to explain to Alexander what ‘instructional scaffolding‘ was.

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Learning to read: full sentences and whole books

April 16, 2015
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Witnessing how reading can come without formal instructions is magical. It shows that learning that comes from within can go way beyond our expectations. Especially if we let expectations go and let it unfold while holding the space and giving a hand when needed :)

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Learning highlights: March 2015

April 1, 2015
Learning highlights March 2015

Eventually I’d like to get into portfolios that kids make for themselves, but that is still ahead. So I’d start small with keeping monthly “learning highlights” posts and then see where it gets us.

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Family bias and what to do about it when homeschooling

March 30, 2015
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While homeschoolers aim at well rounded education for their kids, it’s often possible to observe what I call “family bias” – traces of parents’ own interests and preferences in learning experiences of their kids. So, what can be done about it?

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Things you learn while homeschooling

February 14, 2015
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You learn a lot while helping your kids to learn 24/7. Those are from my “top 3″ list: recognise signal in the noise, focus and take care of yourself.

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Educational innovation: schools vs homeschooling?

February 10, 2015

It’s a pity that with the current educational climate there is often either/or situation where school system and homeschoolers do not want to do much with each other. At the end it is not that important where educational innovations appear as far as all sides are open to learn from it.

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Learning is everywhere

February 7, 2015
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Learning doesn’t necessary take a lot of time. It takes a mindset of recognising learning opportunities and going for them. And a bit of practice – of observing, improvising and not making a duty out of play :)

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Facilitating learning of our kids

February 3, 2015
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Where are many ways to do homeschooling, so it’s often difficult to explain what exactly we do. I can go on with specific examples, but also find it important to articulate educational principles that guide our practice.

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Year of confidence

January 2, 2015

Going through the photos of 2014 I just realised what it was for me – a year of confidence. Since I stopped working four years ago things were very much in turmoil – taking care of two and then three kids, homeschooling, being the primary one responsible for running things in the house and garden. […]

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Mixed age group learning

November 24, 2014

My views on learning and parenting are heavily influenced by the ideas of legitimate peripheral participation in a broad sense – making sure that kids experience life in situ, not in a special child-centric settings, but by becoming part of activities of those around them and society as a whole. Which is easier said than done, […]

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Learning spaces

November 12, 2014

My interests in learning and architecture come pretty nice together with homeschooling our kids. It’s fun to observe kids in action and then go along and modify the space around them to support their activities. When I dived into learning about project-based homeschooling, creating a workspace for the kids was the first thing I picked […]

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Facilitating informal learning

November 10, 2014
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It’s always funny to realise how much the roots of what I’m doing today lay in the past: Looking back now I realised what got me into doing my PhD at the first place – fascination with formal/informal interplay in learning… Once I have discovered research on informal learning, I became fascinated with the idea […]

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Book organisation

October 30, 2014

Not panicking anymore, just trying to accept the fact that we are not going to have a perfectly organised kids books in the house. Regardless how many bookcases we have. And that’s also true for educational materials. And art and craft supplies. And what is made from all that. On toys and playing things I […]

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