RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model] On Playing Frogger

From: Fiona Berry <>
Date: Mon Mar 3 03:53:00 2003

Heidi Crane wrote:
>>>the list goes on, of productive, interesting, useful, things to DO.
Physically oriented things that get something accomplished WHILE the
brainwork is chugging away subconsciously.<<<
>>>so, my earlier post about Frogger and brainstorming...well, there are so
many more useful things that need doing, and the brain can still storm.
Frogger seems wasteful in that light.<<<

When I first started home educating my children, I thought along similar
lines, and was taken to task by the TCS parents on the mailing list that I
joined. They pointed out to me that I was making value judgements about the
activities that my children were choosing to do when free to do them. I
retorted that yes, I was - I didn't think that the passivity of television
was on the same level as an intellectual activity as reading a book or a
nature ramble where one had to put one's own brain into gear.

Now I am ready to eat those words, four years later. I have gone from a
school-at-home set up (which admittedly didn't last that long) to complete
freedom. I was very worried at the beginning that my children would spend
all their time at computer games or watching mindless tv. I wanted them to
be proactive, and want to do creative things.

Now, I have relaxed a lot. Partly this is due to the contact I have had
with other home educating families, partly due to my own experience. They
do go through phases of watching more tv, or playing more computer games.
But my eldest son, who is nearly 13, is now writing his own web pages, and
has learned in three weeks more than I learned in six months of writing my
own in 1998. When he has schooled friends round for tea, it is obvious how
much more skilled in using the computer, and especially the internet, he is.
They may be able to win hands down in algebra, but a very bright girl of the
same age turned to him and said "what's the U-R-L?" Swiftly followed by
"what's a search engine?".

In TV too, there is a time for watching passively, and then there is a time
for making your own film - mine are working on an extravaganza called "The
Alien". Nothing is wasted - often subjects which come up for discussion
relate directly to something mentioned in the Simpsons on the previous
night! It is amazing how often they will hear something they don't
understand in the cartoon, and save it up to ask me about it the following
day. They never mention it during the programme in case I have the poor
taste to start explaining there and then.

My nephew, who attended school, and then took a degree in computing, regrets
this enormously. He says that he learned so much himself, due to his
interest in multimedia design, that the years at college were entirely
wasted - he thinks he knew more than his lecturer about the parts of
computing that interested him. He feels that children with an interest in
design who are allowed unrestricted access to computers will learn more than
they can be taught by formal courses, and I am convinced that he is right.

If we aren't reduced to stone age technology by the looming conflict, I
think my children will be better equipped for modern life than their friends
from school. My problem is convincing our local education authority that
this is so, when I do not keep samples of "work", given that much of our
best work involves long conversations, looking things up in books and on the
internet, and making visits to places where we can get more information.


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Received on Mon Mar 03 2003 - 03:52:05 EST

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