It’s really difficult to prise accurate figures out of government about their budgets for each child in school. One average very roughly worked out suggests that it requires £3 – 4000 per annum for each child in school.
But does that amount really filter down to a child? And how is the money best spent?
Having home educated, you get a totally different insight into the real cost of education. Because home schoolers educate their children very successfully, and to a very good standard, many on tight budgets, on nothing like this amount.
Schools are very good at advertising their magnificent resources. Resources like the very latest technology, swimming pools and other sports resources, lavish buildings, appealing science or art equipment, libraries. And parents buy into this provision thinking it’s going to provide the best education for their child.
But home schooling parents know that’s not the answer. For the best education possible is provided not by these resources, but by something much more valuable. The best possible resource a child could have is time from a human being.
A human being who is inspirational, encouraging, supportive, respectful and kind. One who cares, nurtures and encourages at primary level. And at secondary level one who inspires and ignites a flame of passion in a subject that stirs the student to explore, experience and pursue learning in a self motivated way. Who doesn’t switch kids off!
Put that in place and education takes place naturally. All the other resources are simply secondary to that.
And it’s that human resource – time and attention – which enables home educators to develop and educate their children to such a good standard. The children get the time and attention they need, they get inspired by the varied approaches parents can use to facilitate their learning, they’re motivated by the diverse range of experiences they have outside school, through the wide range of people they interact with, a high proportion of which are adults.
Learning and education are as much about experiences as it is about resources. And although some of these experiences may have some cost involved, many of them don’t. They are the result of being out in the community and using the broad mix of learning opportunities and resources a community provides – for free. Knowledge and information needed is all available online.
The resource of an interested human being is the biggest asset a young person can have. As a parent, we are that already. Material things are of less value.
Many home educating parents now feel that so many of the material things we think we need to raise children like extravagant stimulating toys, the latest gadgets, expensive trips, top of the range labels, which may have to be sacrificed if they’re managing on one income, are just things they can bypass in order to give their kids a better experience of education than school does. And with new flexible ways of working now; from home, online, job sharing, flexi-hours, it’s becoming ever more possible.
But as for expensive materials for education, you need relatively few. The outlay on a few materials and resources are often no more than you’d possibly outlay to a school. Think of the number of times you’ve had to fork out for trips or cooking lessons or specialist materials. New uniform!
Even science resources are not as complicated as we’re led to believe through schools. Besides, in some classes the kids lose the privilege of doing the practical as a form of punishment, so I wonder how much a young person is getting their hands on the equipment the taxpayer is providing.
Provision of necessary materials for home educating is usually overcome by most parents without huge expense. Groups get together to pool resources, skills and expertise.
The biggest expense for home educating families comes at the end, at exam time, as there is no funding for course packs and sitting exams independently. But now government is making funding available for FE colleges for 14-16 home educated kids who want to do exams through the college.
So, how much does it cost to really educate a child? Money wise, far less than you’d think. Nothing like £3-4000 pa when you home educate. The most valuable resource being the time a person puts in.
How much of that do children get in schools?