The Bones of Home Education and Museums

Today was possibly one of the best home education workshops that we have attended… It was a perfect mix of accessible information together with a level of challenge to the children (who) I’m sure gained a real insight into a new area for them – I know I did and I’m an almost 40 year old mum.”Parent of an 8 year old daughter

This comment sums up to me the huge positives of running workshops for home educating families. A range of ages of people (children, parents, museum staff) discovering new interests and learning together.

At Leeds Museums & Galleries, there is a monthly workshop that home educating families can book onto, from Upstairs Downstairs at Lotherton Hall to Thinking Art at Leeds Art Gallery. These are a mixture of workshops from our regular school programme and one-off workshops linked to exhibitions.

Through the workshops, relationships develop:

  • Relationships between learners – they mostly don’t know each other as families book separately onto the workshops.
  • Relationships between people and collections – a teenager discovered that he was the exact same height as the estimated stature (height) of a skeleton we were measuring.
  • Museum and visitor relationships – a participant showcasing her new rendition of ‘Cranium, Scapula, Patella, Phalanges’ on her communication device to the visiting Scientist and other families (can you tell what the well-known song is?)
  • Wider relationships – she also shared the song with people on the train home!
Photograph of several objects on a white desk at Leeds City Museum. There is a cranium, a few skeletons scans, a leaflet of studying the bones available at the museum and a lamp torch.
Photograph courtesy of Gemma Milner, booking officer at Leeds City Museum.

Objects and gallery spaces are powerful. Creating a relaxed, welcoming environment for learners where they can feel safe, confident and interested is the ambition.

“My son, due to very negative school experiences, dislikes classroom environments. But he chose to enter and participate as so inspired” – Parent of a 10 year old son and 9 year old daughter

The staff were wonderful, the workshop was educational and fun, and Temple Newsam house was amazing

Photograph of a child holding a big portrait in a gold frame with a hole where the face should be. The child has his face in the hole and is posing for the camera. He is standing in the middle of a impressive room at Temple Newsam. Wooden floor, green tapestry and several paintings on the wall.
Fun workshop at Temple Newsam.

And finally, here are some comments from the young people about how they felt:

“Intelligent as I have learnt a lot today” – 12 year old

And we do love honesty so we can improve for next time…

“A bit bored when people were talking but activities were fun” – 8 year old

 

By Natalie Haigh, Learning & Access Officer, Leeds City Museum.

Thank you to the families and staff involved, and to our supporters, partners and funders.

Find out more about our Learning Programme.

 

 

 

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