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Friday, 30 March 2012

Children taught at home learn more study finds! :)

I don't normally post articles written by others....however felt compelled to post this!
Link to original artical published in the Guardian online inshallah HERE!
 


Youngsters of all social classes do better if they avoid school, study discovers
The Observer,
Children taught at home significantly outperform their contemporaries who go to school, the first comparative study has found.
It discovered that home-educated children of working-class parents achieved considerably higher marks in tests than the children of professional, middle-class parents and that gender differences in exam results disappear among home-taught children.
 
The study, to be published by the University of Durham in the autumn, will support a call for the Government to introduce legislation to help the growing army of parents who are choosing to remove their children from schools.
 
The numbers of home-educated children in Britain has grown from practically none 20 years ago to about 150,000 today - around 1 per cent of the school age population. By the end of the decade, the figure is expected to have tripled. Home education has won so much support in Scotland that more than 200 campaigners from across Britain are to march to the Scottish Parliament next month to demand a relaxation in legislation which makes it harder for parents to educate their children at home in Scotland than in England and Wales.
 
'Home-educated children do better in conventional terms and in every other way too,' said Paula Rothermel, a lecturer in learning in early childhood at the University of Durham, who spent three years conducting the survey. She said: 'This study is the first evidence we have proving that home education is a huge benefit to large numbers of children. Society just assumes that school is best but because there have never been any comparative studies before this one, the assumption is baseless.'
 
Rothermel questioned 100 home-educating families chosen randomly across the UK, conducting face-to-face interviews and detailed appraisals of their children's academic progress, in line with recognised Government tests. She found that 65 per cent of home-educated children scored more than 75 per cent in a general mathematics and literacy test, compared to a national figure of only 5.1 per cent. The average national score for school-educated pupils in the same test was 45 per cent, while that of the home-educated children was 81 per cent.
 
Rothermel said: 'The improved exam results could be down to the sheer quantity of parental attention and the sense of long-term security that gives them... It could also be down to the fact that families who home educate from birth had worked with their children from the word go and without the disruptive transition at an early age to the very different environment of school.'
 
Rothermel found that the children of working-class, poorly-educated parents significantly outperformed their middle-class contemporaries. While the five- to six-year old children of professional parents scored only 55.2 per cent in the test, children far lower down the social scale scored 71 per cent. Rothermel said: 'This was really a staggering finding, but better-educated parents are probably more laid back than poorly-educated parents and so are less likely to push their children.'
 
Alison Preuss, a mother of three, has been home teaching for six years and is director of Schoolhouse, a Scottish support group for parents who have opted out of conventional schooling. She said: 'In school [children] have knowledge poured into them, while at home they're proactive in choosing what they learn. It's a better preparation for university because they are used to motivating themselves.
'Their social skills and general knowledge are more advanced because they're not restricted by the confines of a national curriculum. They can explore a huge variety of subjects, concentrating in depth on whichever ones capture their imagination.'

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Breaking the myth: home schooled = social outcast!

If there was a dictionary of stereotypes, then I think looking up the term home schooled would look something like this......

Home schooled
home schooled = socially handicapped, weird, isolated, social misfit.
A child who is (un)educated by his (controlling) parents in order to limit freedom, free thinking and choice. A child who is socially abnormal, incapable of understanding human contact and lacking emotional understanding of others, always demanding to be the centre of attention.

But just how much truth is there in this negative myth which surrounds those within home education? I can't speak for all home educators, there isn't a one-size-fits-all box to put us all in. Just as you get schools on both ends of the spectrum from shockingly bad to out-there amazing, the same is the case for home school institutions. Some remain in their own four walls rarely venturing out, others enlist their children in several out of the home activities each week, meet with friends and use the whole world as their classroom!

As a parent I care very deeply about the socialisation of my children, in fact I am quite passionate about it and yes, I home educate them alhamdulillah!

Socialisation is important from so many different angles.....but not all types of social interactions are beneficial, and that is something which is so often ignored.
Here would be a good place to remind ourselves an analogy the Prophet Muhammad gave us:

The example of a good companion and a bad companion is like that of the seller of musk, and the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows. So as for the seller of musk then either he will grant you some, or you buy some from him, or at least you enjoy a pleasant smell from him. As for the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows then either he will burn your clothes or you will get an offencive smell from him.”
(Bukhari & Muslim)

The Prophet Muhammad has advised  us regarding the impact a good companion and a bad companion can have upon us. So you see, I feel it is of utmost importance to ensure that I know with whom my children are befriending and mixing with, especially before the age of adolescence when they are so impressionable.
Children are still learning what is acceptable and what is not, what is good behaviour and what should be avoided.
Children need that guidance and nurturing to help develop the important skills needed in positive socialising, especially the younger they are......and I think certainly in the society we live in today when bad manners and bad conduct is rife this nurturing becomes an even greater importance!

So does that mean I am depriving my children a social experience because I don't send them to school? I don't think so at all. In fact, I think I am enhancing it and helping it to thrive inshallah.
My children are not locked in a class room 7 hours a day made to do the same as 29 other same age kids in the class (most often in near silence)....who in reality are only able to actively "socialise" about an hour a day over lunch.
My children are able to mix with children of all ages, and speak to adults of all backgrounds. They learn and play with their friends, developing their own independent relationships whilst I am content their socialisation is beneficial and not detrimental to them inshallah.
I am able to show my children when their actions are harmful to others so that they will know not to persist in this again, and I am able to ensure no other person is harmful to my child also inshallah.
I would hate my child to become a bully just as much as I would hate my child to be bullied. Don't you think if children had more adult guidance and help in their social dealings, there would be fewer incidences of bullying today?

Some may argue that you have to "let your children be" and allow them to "make their own judgements" but in response to this I feel compelled to say, why should I? No one will deny as parents, we have a duty of care to our children in all aspects of their learning and development.....so why would I allow my child to develop their social skills completely by themselves? Why should I not help nurture their social development in the same manner I nurture how they learn to read and write or learn maths? I don't expect my child to be able to go teach themselves how to read without help and assistance, so why would I allow them to develop their social understanding alone?

My children are still very young anyway at just 5 and 3 mashAllah.....but I definitely believe they have a much healthier and more balanced social life than many of their school peers. .....maybe you should ask them?

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

1 minute craft: Heart bookmarks....

Ok so these are not exactly worth a million dollars.....but are made with love mashAllah and only take literally a minute to make!
Whilst the kids were (banished) out in the garden this afternoon, I had a quick look online for crafty ideas to do with the kids and found some interesting foam bookmarks!

K has been needing a bookmark for ages and I keep meaning to make one for her, so thought whilst I had some inspiration it would be a good time to get the job done!

I think these are pretty self explanatory to make.....I used sticky glitter craft foam I've had in the cupboard for aaaaages I bought from some £ shop and some craft lolly sticks.

Cut out 2 identical hearts and peel of sticky paper off the back.

 Sandwich the lolly stick between the two hearts - resulting in a double sided bookmark.
 

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Montessori style grammar chart!

I wasn't sure whether to post this now or after completion  inshallah - but figured sharing now may give some one else out there an idea to start this or something similar if they are working on early stage grammar like us too!.....

This afternoon we recapped nouns, speaking about what they are and giving examples of both what is and what is not a noun.

To help K (and admittedly maybe myself!) remember what each grammar rule is, we began work on a Montessori style grammar chart. I've seen online a few of these charts ready-to-print, but thought it would be of greater benefit to allow K to make one herself inshallah!

We looked in the children's dictionary to find the definition for grammar, which K then copied out to make the poster tittle. She also cut out the Montessori noun symbol (the black triangle), and wrote out its rule.
A3 Sugar paper
Cut strips of lined paper to write on before using another colour to border.
Will probably add another sheet at the bottom to fit all the rules once we get that far inshallah!

The plan is to add each new rule and its symbol each time we learn one inshallah (hence why most the poster is still empty!)....note how I say each time we learn :)

Although I am using Jolly Grammar, I do find using the Montessori hands-on resources alongside, are an excellent asset alhamdulillah. It definitely helps to give a greater understanding of what for most people, can be quite boring (.....or is that just me?).

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Montessori introduction to grammar!

I wrote this about a month ago but forgot I had it saved until a sister sent me an email asking about grammar alhamdulillah!......

Browsing through the Internet this afternoon, trying to get some inspiration for this weeks lessons inshallah, I came across this excellent video alhamdulillah.
It appears as though it is a recorded live teaching Montessori methods - I found this video very beneficial and watching it, makes teaching grammar seem so easy mashAllah!
What I liked about this particular video, is that it is obviously recorded many, many years ago....and you can see the simplicity of the Montessori materials in the Montessori Classroom compared to what we find today offered by many Montessori online stores. For example, the lecturer shows cards to show nouns, adjectives, etc....and they are all handmade....handwritten! Which goes to show, that really, it is not necessary to spend a fortune buying Montessori "style" materials....rather Montessori is a concept or a method in which you can implement using whatever resources actually work!

I made my own noun cards, handwriting the nouns onto white paper before sticking onto black sugar paper and laminating.
 In hindsight, I do think perhaps would have been better (and quicker) making them the same way as shown in the video - white crayon directly onto the black paper. Alhamdulillah



The instructor made a couple of interesting points in her introduction to the importance of grammar, one  being that in order to learn a second language, it is very difficult to do so if you do not  have a good understanding of how grammar works in your own language first!
For example, if you don't know using your mother tongue whether a verb would come before or after a noun then it is going to be even more difficult to understand this using another language, as often grammar rules from language to language differ. (we often think that other languages do things "backwards!").

Anyway, I found this live tutorial helpful to me alhamdulillah. You can watch it inshallah HERE!.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Arabic insects


Ok, so carrying on revision for Arabic club, I put together an activity sheet. The animals covered in last weeks lesson I believe were spider, ant and cow - however I included a bee on this sheet to keep an insect sort of theme going (also bee was covered in home school club last week). Inshallah I'll make another sheet to include cow and a couple of other animals later.
I've written on the harakat in the first set of words after printing, to help with reading inshallah.
I haven't asked K to write any Arabic words yet, so we'll see how she reacts to this tomorrow bi'ithnillah!

Inshallah, it can be downloaded HERE!

 
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