LEARNING SPECIAL EDITION
'On a Friday we are able to either reiterate or redo things that he has done at school, but also to bring things to life and enhance his learning'
> book, write something and do some number work at some point during the day. Despite loving books, Ferdy has found reading and writing very difficult, primarily because he just hasn’t had the core strength to hold a pen. He also loves stories but finds reading a chore. We have been wondering whether he may be dyspraxic.
Bringing it to Life Having been sent an outline for the term, of topics to be covered by Ferdy’s teachers, I also look at how we can support this is different ways with what we do at home. Examples of this are planning trips to the Imperial War Museum when Ferdy studied WW1, going to the Bones exhibition at Derby Museum when they were looking at the human body, and going to the zoo and looking for animals strong in various senses when they were studying the senses. Some days can feel rather fragmented and that we aren’t achieving very much, or that Ferdy is not motivated (Friday used to be his worst day at school, often because he was tired). However, we have the luxury of letting our learning spread into the weekend. One Friday we decided to learn about different types of tree by going to the woods. Ferdy showed no interest in any of the trees, but the next day I found him looking at tree picture cards and identifying the trees which are in our garden. A day often works really well when we take a subject and let it weave itself through the day. One day we decided to write a letter to Ferdy’s friend in Mexico, so we looked it up on the map, then we wrote the letter and then we went to the post office and Ferdy bought a stamp, counting out the money and speaking to the postmistress himself. I also have a panel on our blog site which lists topics covered, so in a morning’s work we covered Geography, English and Maths. And another day was dominated by the number 3: we thought about things that come in threes in the morning, we went to see Goldilocks and the
Three Bears at the theatre, and I later noticed Ferdy practising writing number 3 (he finds it difficult to write 3 and 5). On a Friday we are able to either reiterate or redo things that he has done at school, but also to bring things to life and enhance his learning, and plan our own topics guided by his interests. Our days are punctuated with activities such as playing lego, listening to audiobooks, dancing, painting, playdoh, jumping, clay, forest school, cooking, light sabre fights, chasing through trees, nature walks, birdwatching, magic, and visiting museums, libraries, the theatre, parks, the woods, National Trust properties and stories, stories and more stories.
Noticing Change Since we started flexischooling, a lot has changed for Ferdy. He is far happier going in to school, he sleeps better and has not had one tummy ache or been off sick this last school year. He has also started talking to me more about school and what he does there, and most importantly, he seems content. The week also feels well-balanced and he is happy to go into school from Monday to Thursday, knowing that he is not in school from Friday to Sunday. The arrangement that we have with the school works on many levels, but I would say that the key to our success is communication. I feel like I have been given the opportunity to really get to know the school and the staff, and therefore can supplement and enhance Ferdy’s learning at home in a productive and supportive way. We have all seen this as a new path to be taking, and are aware that some things may work and others won’t, but with ongoing discussion and support this bespoke and more flexible approach to our son’s schooling will undoubtedly be of huge benefit to his education and well-being.
Harriet blogs at flexischoolingferdy.blogspot.com about the family’s flexischooling Fridays with six year old Ferdy and three year old Gil.
MORE INSPIRATION READ The Flexischooling Guidebook by Peter Humphreys FIND Answers to common questions at edyourself.org/articles/flexischooling
OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2019 thegreenparent.co.uk