How Children Learn at Home

How Children Learn at Home

3.75 (24 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

In his "Educating Children at Home", Alan Thomas found that many home educating families chose or gravitated towards an informal style of education, radically different from that found in schools. Such learning, also described as unschooling, natural or autonomous, takes place without most of the features considered essential for learning in school. At home there is no curriculum or sequential teaching, nor are there any lessons, textbooks, requirements for written work, practice exercises, marking or testing. But how can children who learn in this way actually achieve an education on a par with what schools offer? In this new research, Alan Thomas and Harriet Pattison seek to explain the efficacy of this alternative pedagogy through the experiences of families who have chosen to educate their children informally.Based on interviews and extended examples of learning at home the authors explore: the scope for informal learning within children's everyday lives; the informal acquisition of literacy and numeracy; the role of parents and others in informal learning; and, how children proactively develop their own learning agendas.
Their investigation provides not only an insight into the powerful and effective nature of informal learning but also presents some fundamental challenges to many of the assumptions underpinning educational theory. This book will be of interest to education practitioners, researchers and all parents, whether their children are in or out of school, offering as it does fascinating insights into the nature of children's learning.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 169 x 244 x 12.7mm | 303.91g
  • Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 2nd ed.
  • 0826479995
  • 9780826479990
  • 240,976

Table of contents

1. Introduction; 2. Parents discover the potential of informal learning themselves; 3. Different perspectives on informal learning; 4. The informal curriculum; 5. Processes: how do children learn informally; 6. The parental role; 7. Reading; 8. Writing; 9. Maths; 10. A Child's Eye View.
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Review quote

"How Children Learn at Home is an important contribution to the research on natural learning and yet is very readable and accessible to non-academics. Whether you are a natural learner, are considering natural learning or just interested in how it works-this book will illuminate what natural learning is and how effective it can be. I can't recommend this book highly enough. Reading it will help home educators recognise and appreciate the natural learning going on in their homes-whether natural learning is their home education method or not"Susan Wright, Home Education Network, 2008
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About Alan Thomas

Dr Alan Thomas is Visiting Fellow at the University of London, Institute of Education. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society. Harriet Pattison is a Research Associate at the University of London, Institute of Education. Her three children are home educated.
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Rating details

24 ratings
3.75 out of 5 stars
5 21% (5)
4 46% (11)
3 21% (5)
2 12% (3)
1 0% (0)

Our customer reviews

"All children learn at home. From birth onwards, they explore the world around them; gradually discovering all sorts of things about their physical and social environment and the culture to which they belong..." From the moment you read the preface you'll know that Alan Thomas and Harriet Pattison understand the world of home education in general and informal learning in particular. Alan, a developmental psychologist, was initially interested in individualised teaching and therefore came to study children learning at home. Harriet Pattison is a home educator herself with a background in social anthropology and philosophy of science. How Children Learn at Home is the result of their research into how learning actually takes place in natural learning families. Twenty-six parents from England, Ireland, Australia and Canada were interviewed. The book begins by recapping Alan's previous research describing how parents gravitated towards informal learning. The authors then examine the research that has a bearing on informal learning (from the street learning of youngsters helping out with market stalls to lawyers learning by chatting informally with colleagues) before moving on to the results of their own research. Here they discuss the what and how of informal learning by school-age children, the world that surrounds these children and how they engage with it. Three types of learning are identified - incidental and implicit learning which both occur with little awareness from the child and self-directed learning in which children more deliberately find out about something that has captured their interest. The authors talk about the elusive and yet pervasive nature of informal learning - even the interview families see it all the time and yet have difficulty in defining it and pinning it down. The authors conclude that informal learning during the school years remains as it was during the preschool years "a commonplace, unremarkable and yet astonishingly efficient way to learn." The book recounts real-life incidents through which learning can be traced. The role of parents as role models, facilitators, co-learners and more experienced mentors of the same culture is discussed and three chapters are devoted to the informal acquisition of literacy and numeracy. The important role of play is also examined. Overall the book is both reassuring and empowering for informal learning families. It confirms through research what our own experience continues to tell us and yet we sometimes fear to believe - that informal learning is an effective way to learn. How Children Learn at Home is an important contribution to the research on learning and yet is very readable and accessible to non-academics. Whether you are a home educator, are considering informal learning or just interested in how it works - this book will illuminate what it is and how effective it can be. I can't recommend this book highly enough. Reading it will help home educators recognise and appreciate the informal learning going on in their homes - whether informal learning is their home education method or not.show more
by Robert Wight
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