From Sometimes It's Peaceful:
"So have home educating families with autonomous learning children got anything to fear from their LEAs, really?
One LEA visitor to our house, early in our autonomous provision, asked to see samples of the children's work. "I've stopped insisting on them producing work," I said, "Because their interest in learning shut down whenever I did. Is the LEA interested in my children's learning, or in their work? Because the two things are mutually exclusive, so it can't have both."
"Erm... well I suppose learning is the important thing," said the visitor and the LEA has been happy to take my word for it that the children are learning, ever since - though I accept that some LEAs might just never be so amenable. "
Whilst trying not to reveal too much about our family, I should say that not having to produce work for the inspection of anybody else, to meet anyone's externally imposed criteria, to meet anyone's else's expectations, has been enormously beneficial for our family in so many ways:
It has meant that we can tackle the problems we are genuinely interested in.
We can do this when our bodies and minds feel ready.
It has meant that we can give our whole minds to solving the problem.
Having time and no pressure to present work has meant that we can mull over problems, thinking around them, paying attention to issues such as when we think best, eg: not just when we are obviously dealing with the problem directly, but when we are doing the gardening, jumping on a trampoline, lying on a sofa, ie: learning about the value of walking away from a problem, taking time out to think, playing with ideas, coming back when you are ready with new and valuable connections, creative solutions, and we can do this all because we don't have to foreclose upon a problem to present our work at a prescribed time and to meet another person's set of expectations.
Having said all of which, I do make a deadline for myself, usually to write at least one blog post a day, and yet probably because this is freely chosen, I have no problem at all with this.
In the course of studying the problems that interest us, we absorb information deeply. It isn't held superficially to be used in a test for the next day. The sort of information that is eagerly sought is likely to become embedded in long-term memory.
Also in the course of studying problems which interest us, we come across all sorts of other information which we absorb often without consciously so-doing. For example, a child may learn to do long division or to multiply large numbers when playing an on-line game. He finds out about from global warming watching the Simpsons, say.
Children can deal with the problem of presentation as a last and trivial problem in the course of solving the other more pertinent problems, but this will be the last and often most trivial consideration.
We don't waste time struggling with problems that don't interest us.
We don't become completely unnecessarily disheartened because the situation of meeting other people's extenally imposed agendas happens so rarely. It is our conviction that numerous children are labelled with problems which simply would not exist if these absurd and unproven benchmarks were not imposed upon them. For example, many HE children don't learn to read until they are 7 or 8, yet within a few weeks of starting and with minimal effort, they can be reading at the same level as schooled children who have spent hours and hours slaving laboriously over their literacy skills.
Yep, this is where true learning really is at. It works for me and it seems to work for my children. Perhaps we suffer from some kind of genetic learning anomaly, but I suspect this is not the case, and that many other people would benefit from this kind of genuine learning.