On homeschooling quality

by Lilia Efimova on 11 September 2016

Back home after a half a day talking about homeschooling practices and politics. There was an intervision session for the parents to share and discuss their experiences and, by a coincidence, a call with a discussion of current state of negotiations about the changes in the regulations of home education in the Netherlands.

It’s a strange experience to have those things next to each other. Two thoughts that I took out of it, next the experience of facilitation in Dutch and appreciation of the trust and openness of the participants.

1. As part of the intervision process we talked about “tips” that could help a homeschooling parent to do their job better. However, it seems that all of us also need “tops” next to the “tips” – a positive feedback and an appreciation of the things that work. There are enough challenges and insecurities, but they all grow on a foundation of something that goes well. And that something is to be proud of.

2. It’s a pity the whole discussion about the quality of homeschooling in the Dutch politics seems to be mainly an excuse to make it less accessible. The best thing that could be done to make homeschooling better is to remove all the barriers for starting it. Then the “socialisation” issue is not an issue anymore, there is a critical mass of people to do things together, there is a market for methods and materials, and the people who want to invest in educating their kids at home can do that instead of spending their energy on dealing with barriers and problems that exist only because of the current regulations.

And, on the meta-level this is all about “choosing my battles”, working on the improving things that work instead of being frustrated with the politics. [More on in friends-only FB discussion]

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PKM for kids?

by Lilia Efimova on 8 September 2016

I’ve been thinking in the last few days about a direction to organise my current experiences and thinking about learning. It always have been about an individual in a social space, in a continuum of teams, communities and networks, but at the current iteration the age went from adults to young kids, bringing a lot of new factors into the equation. There are still a lot of practicalities of figuring out how to “do” unschooling in our context, but the insights from the process call for a bigger frame to work on.

And, as always, serendipity works its way, this time starting as a tweet of Harold Jarche:
PKMkids at Twitter

Picking up personal knowledge management, reimagined as personal knowledge mastery by Harold, as a frame of reference to map current insights is an interesting idea to play with.

A quick list of things to think about in this context:

  • mapping PKM to developmental stages from a child to an adult, to expanding social circles and a variety of interactions there;
  • think in terms of four basic skills in 2020 (or in a broader context), with a particular attention to cognitive load management;
  • look into an age scale and a sliding balance between child/adult responsibility in the process (also into the specifics of parents -> other adults);
  • introduction and/vs. embedding trajectories.

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A jar full of coins

September 4, 2016

While sorting stuff in the bookcases to be replaced I found a jar full of coins. Giving it to the kids turned into math, construction, cooperation and ice-creams.

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Facilitating unschooling: bridging the gap between interests of a child and external expectations

August 29, 2016

I’m at another iteration of trying to come up with a “theory of unschooling”. In this post I draw parallels between facilitating unschooling and supporting informal learning in an organisation, and then discuss the challenges of aligning interests of a child and external expectations.

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Not back to school insights

August 24, 2016

As everyone around is starting another school year, we do too, in a sense. Reestablishing household routines after traveling, painting shelves to make a new bookcase and trying to wrap free-range learning into a plan for a quality assessment process with Stichting Keurmerk Thuisonderwijs, which brings a few insights to share.

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Seasonal rhytms

August 18, 2016

Seeing how the choices of our kids of what to do and where are changing with the seasons is always amazing.

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Lightning and thunder

April 15, 2016

Nature, physics and math – just because it’s stormy and the delay between lightning and thunder is always amazing.

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Things to write on making

April 9, 2016

I’m longing to write, but the physical reality takes over. Two weeks in Russia with the kids, flu, Easter, laser cutter workshop and spring season in the garden, not to mention the kids, all need their share of attention. So, not to produce yet another unfinished draft I’ll make a quick list of things to […]

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Facilitating informal learning: mindset, lifestyle and paying attention

March 27, 2016

Easter lunch is not about learning, but it serves as a good example to talk about the mindset and the lifestyle that enable learning as part of life. It also helps to see why noticing and articulating informal, embedded and implicit is important.

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Designing for a family learning: safe space and facilitating independence

February 19, 2016

I’m trying to articulate what are the ingredients for mixed age learning that includes adults and kids as a series of posts. This time talk about safe space and facilitating independence of every family member at their own level.

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Learning transfer

February 16, 2016

Learning is in the details. There are things that go routinely now. Household work, reading-writing-math plain or embedded into games and activities, logging lists to document what’s going on, sport and other clubs, weekly homeschooling meetings. That’s a basis that we really pay attention to if something breaks. A good ground of sorts. However, what […]

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Designing for a family learning: meaningful activities for adults

February 13, 2016

I’m trying to articulate what are the ingredients for mixed age learning that includes adults and kids as a series of posts. This one is about the importance of including meaningful activities for adults.

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Performance improvement mindset and taking it for granted

February 9, 2016

I take for granted how much my thinking about learning has been influenced by a ‘performance improvement’ mindset. It’s time to deal with those tacit assumptions explicitly, especially given that in education the gap between learning and ‘work’ seems to be bigger than in L&D.

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Homeschooling in the Netherlands: how to start networking

January 31, 2016

To learn about homeschooling from the first-hand experiences and to make sure your kids have contact with other homeschooled kids, you need to network first. How to you go about it if you don’t know any homeschooling families in person?

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