We are told that kids need schooling to become educated. But do they?
Through my experiences both teaching in schools and home educating, interacting with many others doing the same, it’s apparent that this is not necessarily the case. It’s also clear that some of the things we associate with school, which we thought kids needed in order to learn like quiet, control, hours of academic exercises, tests, a teacher, are also not essential.
There is much we can learn about education in general from home educators’ successful approaches. Here are some examples:
– Children don’t necessarily need to do stuff within specific time frames despite schools commonly telling us so, usually for political reasons. Time restrictions can impede success, whether that’s learning too much too young or being held back when a child is clearly able.
– Children need inspiring, supportive adults around them, and a high proportion. They don’t necessarily need a teacher. It’s not teachers that educate, it is experiences; social, intellectual, inspirational, motivational, broad, contrasting, practical and physical, varied and diverse.
– Education doesn’t have to be competitive. We need instead to raise awareness in youngsters, encourage self-discipline not enforced discipline, self-motivation not threats. They then find their own competitive drive (if they need one). But if education is inspirational, as it should be, this all takes care of itself.
– School doesn’t teach kids about living life. It teaches them about living school. Experiences outside school are worth more than the teaching that goes on in it. Most home educators provide many experiences outside the home to facilitate learning.
– The educative journey makes a far bigger difference to our children’s learning and life beyond school years than the outcome. The education system, where all focus is on results, has it the wrong way round.
– Tests are of no use to the learner whatsoever. They waste children’s time doing them, waste their potential by constant measurement (often with wrong results), waste teacher time. Most home educated children don’t do tests but still achieve the same as their school mates.
– Children all develop at different rates. It doesn’t matter when a child learns something, despite what we’re conned to believe. What matters is that they can use it when it’s learned. If they can’t they probably need more time and will learn it eventually.
– Being passive and quiet rarely aids educational progress. Discussion and activity does. Most home educators use conversation and practical activity, outings, field trips and interaction, more than passive academic exercises.
– Kids need people who care about them as individuals in order to learn. Not people who are pressured and stressed into only caring about meeting targets.
– Real life should not be on hold till the kids leave school. Being involved in real life is what makes the kids want to become educated in order to live it and earn it!