I’ve had the chance to meet some really inspirational parents recently at various events to celebrate the launch of my latest book; ‘Who’s Not In School?’ (Details on my site)
These are such brave, bold people who screw up the courage to home educate rather than sticking with a system they have complaints about, as most others do.
Once you come away from the mainstream way of schooling you are forced to think really hard about education, about learning, about approaches to learning and about your own philosophies regarding it.
Judging by the conversations I had with these parents it’s clearly something they’ve given enormous consideration to. Whereas I think it’s probably the case that those who use school generally hand that job over to schools.
You can’t afford to do that when you home educate.
Which is why it is rather saddening that one of the most common criticisms of home educating parents is that they do so because they can’t be bothered with education or to send their kids to school.
The irony of this criticism is that it requires far more bother to home educate than anything else! Yet the numbers of home educating parents are still growing.
And they are not the only ones who think mainstream education falls short of providing the whole of what their children really need. Other alternative schools have sprung up as a result. The one featured in this article caught my eye because it features qualities many home educating families adopt, ditching the prescriptive regime that schooling has become.
It’s a school where there are no tests, no exams, no streaming, and it doesn’t necessarily take place in classrooms at desks – yet it still works. Even more extraordinary; the children want to be there!
This group of parents know, like home educators do, that given the right environment in which to learn, given respect and the right to choice, children actually want to engage with education. It’s the system which spoils that for many because the system doesn’t suit many; it’s not the other way round as we’re led to believe and that there’s something wrong with our child.
I appreciate that it’s hard sometimes to see beyond the conditioned, mainstream thinking and take on board alternative ideas. And fear can make critics of us all.
Also, home education is not for everyone. Schools provide a valuable service that happily suits many and it is the experience that most of us equate with education, so we are aware of its good and bad points.
But at least we have had that experience, so maybe are qualified to criticise.
However, many of the critics of home education have had no first hand involvement. So how are they able to criticise something they know nothing about?
Had they met or listened to the kind of inspirational and deeply conscious parents I talked to recently they might have a less critical opinion.