Saturday, May 17, 2008

Homeschooling Interview

This is part of an interview posted on one of the homeschooling groups I'm in. Andrew Denton is a comedian / talk show host on the abc (like the pbs). Michael Leunig is a political cartoonist / artist / author. His website is The full interview can be found at This is the part that is relevant to homeschooling...I love the way he explains that the horse is the teacher, or the paddock is the teacher (etc) and also the last paragraph by Michael as well...

ANDREW DENTON: Your children, Felix and Minna, who are, I think, 13 and 11, something like that?


ANDREW DENTON: You mentioned that you're home schooling them, what do you teach them?

MICHAEL LEUNIG: Well, they learn, you see, children want to learn. I think healthy children just, you can't stop them learning and so you've got to provide, it's a matter of provision. You create an environment where they are keen and eager to, and curious, and so, for instance, my daughter, Minna, loves her horses. She has a couple of horses and the horse is the teacher at that point. When they're walking across the paddock, paddock is the teacher, the snake that crawls in front of them is the teacher. When they're helping fix a fence or fix the pump, that is the teacher. Children's eyes go to things, they sparkle when they see something, so you say, "OK, we'll go there. We follow that". You follow things.

ANDREW DENTON: Do you worry that you won't be able to give them a broad enough education beyond your and Helga's view of the world?

MICHAEL LEUNIG: Well, you couldn't control the situation to that extent. The world just comes in on top of you. It creeps under the door. It falls out of the sky. It's all around. I mean, if you love your children you're not wanting to see them become ignorant and narrow and if they want to go to school, fine, you know. I they want to, if there comes that time, they can go.

ANDREW DENTON: The other thing about school that is provided, of course, is community, that sense of learning to work with your peers, to build friendships, all of that.

MICHAEL LEUNIG: And to bully each other to death and to be sort of frog-marched around on the playground.

ANDREW DENTON: All those things, too, but...

MICHAEL LEUNIG: Yes, all those things. To submit and to be controlled.. . Bullying doesn't necessarily. .. And to be confused out of your head by all these mad things they teach them, crazy.

ANDREW DENTON: Aren't these things, though, that as your children move into a broader world as they get older, they're going to have to find a way to deal with them because they're, you can't close them off.

MICHAEL LEUNIG: No, you're opening them up. No, you can't close off these bad things. Absolutely, and that's why I'm home educating them so that at the centre they're strong because it's a big, wild world out there. See people would caricature this as a narrow, parochial view. I see it as the opposite. I think it's trusting that the child has a soul that wants to open up to all the world. Make it strong, let the child be strong at the beginning. Let the soul centre be happy and solid and strong and it can cope with whatever comes. Creativity is the way through and I think so much creativity is crushed in education.

1 comment:

PeacefulGoddess said...

I love it! Your kids are just growing must be all that love and attention you give them!