Three years ago as a eager parent in the mainstream school system I started to notice that a lot of adults had a rather grim view of learning! It was presented as something you had to 'get through' a rite of passage that toughened you up, prepared you for the 'real world' and taught you to survive.
I started to really question that conditioning, I could see the product of those beliefs all around me and I started to notice that 'normal' can sometimes be quite distorted!
Volunteering to help with reading in my son's class I noticed many on the fringe that were pushed further to the margins. I observed that often the very best efforts of the swamped educator weren't able to draw them back in. The system by it's very nature made it impossible.
I noticed the difference between eager prep kids and those in Grade Two.
The 7 year olds were no longer self directed or curious they were overly concerned with rules and doing the right thing. They sat passively waiting to be instructed for every task. This behaviour was rewarded with the most approval in the form of points, reward charts and even weekly prize draws!
Questions were directed by the educator only if they were confident of the appropriate response, open ended enquiries were deemed too risky. There was little room for deep thinking or formation of innovative ideas. Meanwhile, the still undeadened, leapt ahead, eager to experiment and explore, often standing out like beacons (we're not used to seeing children act like children anymore...) They were chastised and reminded to behave as expected.
So what's wrong with that? That makes sense! I hear you say... how else can the group proceed as planned and achieve the pre-determined outcomes?
Without question there is nothing wrong with that. As a system it works beautifully, like a well oiled machine honed over 100 years (are you feeling the irony?)
However we aren't talking about systems, we are talking about human beings who need space to develop, to link up those pathways before they are lost forever.
So...what to do?
Intuitive, self directed learning, teachers as facilitators of discovery, guides on the side that offer ways to get to a destination, but didn't dictate the path, Yeah, yeah that all rolls of the tongue doesn't it but how? How can that be achieved in practical terms?
Gazing at my iPad lying forgotten in my lap, as I contemplated all of the above, the answer became clear.
In my hands was one of the most powerful tools for self directed exploration and in that moment DigTech Homeschool was born.
I will share what I have discovered with you over the last three years in this space.
Come on the journey with me.