I am Sarah, a home educating mama of two children, a 12 year old daughter ‘L’ and 10 year old son, ‘T’, living somewhere in the South of England.
This is a blog about education: the state of education in school; the unschooling path and how we can bring unschooling principles into state schools so that all children can benefit. I think of it as a cheerleader for unschooling and all that it stands for.
I have had many articles about education published in the last 5 years; I wrote for ‘The Mother’ magazine for 4 years and more recently for ‘The Alliance for Self-Directed Education’. My most recent article about unschooling and how I think it could change the world can be found here. Currently I am working on writing content and artwork for The Marine Conservation’s junior magazine. I don’t think writing is my life calling and it’s not even something I find easy, but writing about education and conservation (because it’s all connected) seems important work.
Education is in my blood. I was raised in the grounds of a boy’s boarding school where my Dad was Head of English and a housemaster. After a conventional state education route, I went into teaching myself and taught in junior classrooms for 10 years. I loved it mostly, but if you’d searched me out in my classroom, you would have found me painting old chairs with little groups of kids with behaviour difficulties, chatting to them, trying to find out what made them tick or maybe you would have found me in the Senior Management Team meeting, quietly chipping in my thoughts on homework and how it erodes family time and free play.
I later became the school SENco and after training with The Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre, specialised in teaching children with specific learning difficulties (SPLD dyslexia). However I have learnt more about education and learning from being a parent and watching my children grow and I have had to loosen the shackles of my own schooling and teaching days in order to home educate.
I am passionate about holistic, experiential, self-directed education which meets the developmental needs of an individual child, rather than a particular age or stage. My aim for my own children is that they develop a life-long love of learning through following their own interests, whilst also being offered a range of activities to broaden their outlook and deepen their understanding of the world and their place in it. For the purposes of this blog I will refer to our Home Education as unschooling which basically means learning which is self-directed, consented to and often comes about from simply living.
If it sounds like I dislike schools or teachers, rest assured that is not true. Teachers are my heroes, they try their best in a broken system. As for schools, well some families need schools and lots of children enjoy school and succeed. However our schooling system desperately needs reforming. I would like to see schools run on Human Scale principles, where children’s rights are fully realised and Democracy is genuinely integrated into school life so that all children can flourish.
In the UK we are lucky to have choice about education ( long may it last) and educational freedom is what I really stand for, rather than against anything or anyone
Aside from writing and home educating, I love to swim, particularly open water when the chance arises. Over the last 3 years I have swam in charity open water events: Southend Great Pier swim, Padstow to Rock and Bournemouth Pier to Pier. My future challenge is to swim the Solent, and then Loch Ness, but for now those are my little pipe dreams (and I would need to increase my fitness first!)
I am passionate about marine conservation and volunteer with both ‘Capturing Our Coast’ and ‘The Marine Conservation Society’ taking part in beach cleans, surveying rocky shore species and delivering educational content.
I also love to draw and paint, and am currently trying to find more time to pursue this interest. I love travel too, and before children I was lucky enough to travel all over the world. Right now though I am content enough with day trips and the odd overnighters in the UK, but soon I would like to take the kids on a longer trip somewhere, preferably in a beaten up campervan. I am fascinated with anything to do with roadschooling, I’ve just got to work out how to make it happen………………….