There’s a common assumption that if you’re a home educator you’re bound to be anti-school.
That’s not the case. Most home educators appreciate that schools work very well for most families. And their decision to home educate is not a criticism of teaching either, as some teachers see it. It’s appreciated that teachers’ potential and creativity is so tied by the system they can’t often do what they consider to be in the best interests of a child. Consequently much inspirational and empathetic teaching is lost.
Still, many parents have deep reservations about schooling and feel that these are best overcome by approaching their child’s education out of school.
I asked a few in the home education community to identify what these reservations were and there were many common threads;
– Children bored, unhappy, unfulfilled, unwell or unenthusiastic after starting, all of which impact on performance
– Child failing to achieve in the school environment despite an obvious intelligence and potential
– Lack of adequate attention to the individual
– Lack of flexibility in the approach to learning styles, the curriculum and the relationships
– The danger of children being ‘cloned’ and dulled by a system trying to make everyone ‘fit’
– Worrying destruction of a child’s natural curiosity and desire to learn about their world when they’d been insatiable pre-school
– Lack of valuable educational interaction with adults, like conversation and the opportunity to ask questions
– Dramatic and often detrimental changes in the child’s personality and behaviour, like aggression, depression or anxiety which disappeared once home schooling
– Gove’s ‘worrying’ ideas and the political agenda throughout the educational system
– Disillusionment of some parents who’d worked in the system worried by what they saw taking place in the classroom and schools in general
– Unhealthy and sometimes destructive emphasis on competition rather than personal progress and attainment
– Lack of support with particular needs, like Dyslexia for example
– A rigid and over-prescriptive curriculum and emphasis on test passing and statistics rather than personal learning
– Bullying, both by children and staff
– Lack of communication
– Unnatural social climate, not replicated anywhere in the world outside school, having a negative effect on social development
To many families home education seemed a more natural life-real progression into education and their child’s development and achievement than the system offered. And as such have found it to be a successful and worthwhile alternative.
One parent made the comment that initially they had as many reservations with home schooling as with school, but their child was unable to get a place within their local school so they started home educating in preference to long journeys. They’ve never looked back and are now glad that the Local Authority couldn’t provide the place they originally wanted because the home education option has turned out to be so successful!