Some people have suggested that home educating is a rather extreme step for parents to take towards educating their child.
However, that may be because we’ve accepted the school way of educating as the normal point of reference. Once we really examine it, it may change our point of view.
I was drawn to raise this question after reading this article recently about one particular school banning the use of technology, not only from the school, but from the whole of a child’s life – even when they were not at school. This would seem to be rather an extreme and controlled approach to take, even though I may understand the reason behind it. So what might constitute a balanced education?
The approach to learning that we’re familiar with in the educational system generally expects all children to perform in the same way, with the same approach, at the same time, to the same level and with the same outcome, despite their differences, individual learning needs or characters. It is built to support that very narrow framework and, in order to fulfil specific outcomes, many children become casualties of a system and approach that doesn’t suit them
Home schoolers tend to tailor their child’s learning to their needs incorporating a balance of approaches and activities and towards outcomes that are not necessarily pre-determined but which develop with the maturity of the child. And the home school families I’ve met seem to include a variety of activities to achieve this.
And whilst doing so they are challenging our perception of what is an acceptable balance between all aspects of education.
The use of technology in the classroom and in our children’s lives in general has caused much debate, especially in respect of the influence it has on a child’s achievement. But this debate is no more important than many of the others which question the balance of all subjects across the curriculum. Balance between active and sedentary activities as sports and physical education are squeezed out, (interesting article here on its benefits) balance between academic study and more creative subjects as the Arts are rated less important, and other subjects like history and geography also feel the squeeze in favour of hard emphasis on Language, Maths and Science. There are many now suggesting this is an unhealthy approach to be taking – children need diversity and sometimes less formal routes to learning success and all round healthy development.
As education in schools has focussed on testing and on narrow academic outcomes the curriculum is in danger of being extremely narrow in its own way.
It is exactly these rigid, test orientated structures which families want to abandon when they home educate in order to pursue a more balanced approach to their children’s learning and the activities they undertake in the pursuit of it. And, as such, perhaps they are providing a healthier approach to education that we could all learn from.