As home educators you get accused of a lot of things:
– You get accused of tying your children to your apron strings and being unable to let them go.
– You get accused of narrowing their education to the confines of your home.
– You get accused of wanting to molly coddle them instead of allowing them to acclimatise to the rough and tumble of the ‘real’ world.
– You get accused of both wanting to academically cram your children to make them brighter than other kids and the opposite of totally neglecting their education.
– You get accused of being weird and alternative.
– And the worst thing of all; you get accused of being a parent who does not care about education since you don’t send your child to school.
What is so galling about these accusations is that firstly, in the case of most home educating families, the exact opposites are true. And secondly they are usually made by people who have no first hand experience of home education and who speak in complete ignorance! Often in fear.
Far from tying the kids to their apron skins most home educating parents are giving their children an opportunity to be out in the ‘real’ world. The real ‘real’ world that is, not the artificial world of school.
Far from narrowing their education, home education extends the child’s experiences far beyond the home and the world becomes their learning environment, gaining them an understanding of how the world works and how they fit into it which usually extends beyond the experiences they have in a classroom. And far from molly coddling them, home educated children are exposed to a wide range of people and a wide range of experiences over and above the limits of school ones.
As for academically cramming or neglecting their education; most home educating families strive to achieve a far better balance in their educational provision than that which a child would normally achieve within the restrictions of the national curriculum. A balance between first hand learning and study, a balance between passive learning and active engagement, a balance between physical activities, arts, sciences, field trips, experimentation, personal development, investigation, creative innovation, intellectual stimulation and a social diversity which extends way beyond that which they would receive going to the same school with the same bunch of people, day after day, year after year.
And far from being weird and alternative we are actually very ordinary parents who want the same simple things every parent wants for their children; their health and happiness, continued development and achievement, and realisation of their individual potential.
And finally, far from being neglectful of their education, we are totally and one hundred percent committed to it. Why else would any parent take such a mammoth step?
If there is one thing I hunger to achieve with these writings here it would be to open closed minds. To invite people to do a little personal learning themselves, step beyond their normal conditioned responses and seek to understand that there are many, many approaches to education that are as equally successful as the one they are used to through school. And to grow a little tolerance and compassion towards those people who would make different choices to their own.