Claire & JJ are a Mom and daughter team extracting and document their 365DaysLearning experiences throughout 2013 - we started on the 1st January 2013 and will end on the 31st December 2013. Our 365DaysLearning blogs will be posted as close to a Tuesday as feasible and are a summarisation of our week of learning. The details are extracted from tweets made throughout the week on @365DaysLearning. Each tweet will indicate who tweeted with either a C (Claire) or JJ. This is a significant undertaking for such two very unstructured individuals.

JJ & Me

Taken by Brenda at Dreamdiva

My name is Claire. I am a 47 year old home educating Mom with a passion for learning. I have been home educating my two children for the last 8 years. My eldest went briefly to school and my youngest has never been. In line with many first time home educators, we initially approached education in our home in a schooled way. However over time the need for me to impose curriculum has fallen away and an unschooled approach has become the norm in our home. Education and learning in our home is now driven by the personality and interests of the child. I describe myself as a facilitator of their education as opposed to their teacher. Many learning experiences I enjoy side by side with my children and feel I am learning as much as they are.

My oldest son, AA age 14, has decided to not take part in this 365DaysLearning experience but requires a mention as I’m sure he will make an appearance throughout this year in our writing. Much to my amazement, in true unschooling style he decided independently, last year, to pursue a more formal educational approach and joined an online American school following a strict Californian curriculum. AA is a 98% visual learner with an exceptional ability to concentrate; he also requires structure, so this approach to his educational journey is one ideally suited to him. Having been out of school for 6 years he was required to sit a Maths and English entrance test. With only 3 months to fill any curriculum gaps he managed to achieve 100% in Maths for his age and 89% for the year above. He also achieved 89% for English, his least favourite subject, for his age. He finished his first year with a 95% average across all his subjects and is now into his second year. I feel compelled to mention that I really struggle at a core level with this percentage approach to learning, but it seems the world we live in places great value on this approach to measuring education. I realise that other people’s opinions matter greatly to AA and I believe that this is a key reason why he chose this path.

JJ is 9 years old. She is a free spirit, kinaesthetic learner with a butterfly approach to learning. She flits from one interest to another until one subject matter captures her attention. Then she grabs hold of it and explores it until she is satisfied, this may take only a few hours or become an interest for a month. When sated she often abandons the subject matter and moves onto something entirely different. When she returns to the subject matter previously explored, in many cases months later, she picks up where she left off and starts to build on what she previously learnt. JJ is excited to take part in the 365DaysLearning experiment together with me. During this year she will not be following any curriculum, she will be approaching her learning in what is described as unschooling. This is her preferred style of learning.

I believe that learning opportunities are all around us, I’m hoping this year’s more clinical focus on our learning will provide me with the evidence, I instinctively know but can’t yet fully prove, that homosapiens are driven to learn – whatever our age. In doing this experiment we hope to prove that unschooling is viable and a very natural way to approach learning for both an adult and a child.

Please join us on our Unschooling Experiential Experiment.

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire William Butler Yeats


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