Thursday, 6 September 2012

My plans! All my beautiful plans!

Plans. How easily they go belly-up when you home educate :)

A couple of weeks ago I downloaded the Harmony Fine Arts Course. I thought it would be an interesting way to guide us through learning about art and classical music. I'm not a huge fan of
classical music, and know very little about it, so I thought we could learn to appreciate it (or not) together. The children have an interest in art, but none of us know anything about artists. This course looked like it would fill the gaps in a flexible way, offering us a broad spectrum introduction and then allowing us to then follow our individual interests if anything caught our eye.

We ordered the couple of books that were needed, including The Usborne Art Treasury (from the library) and Oxford First Book of Art (from Amazon), and made a start. My daughter liked one art book in particular. As seen in this post, she proceeded to work through the art book at break-neck pace, doing the parts that interested her.

Today, I get out the folder of The Harmony Fine Arts Course.

Dd says: "Oh. I don't want to do art today. I've done everything that interests me."

In the early days of home edding I would have taken this very personally. I might have been badly behaved enough to rant a little. I'd certainly have bemoaned the time and energy I'd invested in my 'plan', even if I didn't vocalise it out loud. I expect I would have dragged the kids kicking and screaming through the schedule for another few weeks, until we gave up in a fit of resentment.

But I've learned heaps since home educating.

I've learned that plans are flexible. I've learned that plans and projects and schemes, or whatever you want to call them, are just ways of offering something to your kids, of exposing them to something they (and you) may not have experienced before. The child may follow your neatly set out plan. Or by offering something different this might plant a small seed in their mind, (but they'd rather come back to it later). Or they may take the initiative and run with their own ideas. Or, as has happened on occasions, they may reject your offering altogether.

But this isn't failure.

I can step back and look at this experience, look at the positive things that have happened by offering this plan:

  • We now know about and own two lovely imaginative art books with activities in, that we would never have discovered otherwise.

  • My dd, who has barely drawn or painted for 2 years, has in the past 3 days produced a stack of inventive artwork. Not because I instructed her, but because she wanted to. And I let her.

  • Our long-untouched stack of art and craft materials has come back into use. The children have fresh ideas of how to use them.

  • I've had further thoughts about taking the kids to art museums and workshops, and come to the conclusion that this might be something they'd like to do. I've booked a workshop at an art museum.

  • My dd has realised she is able to independently use a book and to follow pictorial instructions, even though she struggles to read. This new-found confidence will most likely spread to other activities.

  • I've learned to let go of my fixed ideas, to go with the flow, to trust my children. I've also learned that plans aren't a bad thing, as long as you don't stick rigidly to them :)

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