Being on the web takes on the whole new meaning at this time of the year. The low autumn light illuminates illicit strands. More than strands – whole nests in ignored corners, turning the house and garden into something out of Dickens whilst I’m on a web of a different kind.
Back when we started home educating we weren’t even connected to the World Wide Web.
Can you imagine that?
Then, once connected, we had to whirr and wait for Dial-Up. It was that slow text books were quicker. And if you wanted to meet other home educators you had to cold call – not something I found easy.
So different now!
I reckon it’ll be the Internet, more than anything else, that will have the biggest impact on education; on home education.
Not necessarily because you have everything you want to know at your finger clicks, so no one can lord it over you with their superiority of knowledge (and I’m talking Education Authority and law here as well as facts and figures). But because it has the potential to expand awareness. To extend networks of people who home school and share resources and take the myth out of being isolate. And through blogs and groups give a picture of how well home education works in all its different forms.
And having those examples it will start people questioning schooling as we have done over our kids’ learning years, asking: -
- If we have all the knowledge we need for exams on the Net, which used to be exclusive to teachers, what do we need teachers for? Obviously we need adults for example, for motivation and inspiration, for encouragement and support. But we don’t need the less appealing characters we can sometimes find in schools who clearly should not be in charge of children. What do we need in place of them?
- People always ask home schoolers ‘how can your kids have friends without going to school?’ which I always found bizarre. But in answer to that; if families can connect with each other via social networking, make groups and find friends and support, why do we need the institutions of schools anymore? Of course, there is a demand for mass child minding, but as for calling that role ‘education’…?
- And if we can get all knowledge off the web, regurgitate it and pass exams, is that to be considered an education? And if it isn’t, what is education anyway?
- So, if we no longer need schools in the form they’ve always been, what do we need for our kids now?
These are the questions we need to ask and I believe it is home educators who will be forming the answers as they illustrate different approaches to learning, raising children and developing a roundly educated young person rather than a person just primed for exams.
And it is through the advent of the Web and sharing ideas that we can challenge age old establishments and hopefully move some of these archaic practises onto something better!