Our first child was born on the first of September. Had she been born the day before, or even two hours earlier, she would have gone to school a whole year earlier than she did.
“Oh, what a shame she has to wait another year,” everyone said.
Shame? I was thinking it was a good thing. She wasn’t ready and it gave her another year to develop and mature in preparation. As it turned out we went on to home educate after several years of school making her miserable. When we saw the change in her we regretted not doing it sooner. She never went back.
By the time she was just sixteen she was mature beyond her contemporaries still in school, ready to move on, keen to start her career choice and thus ready to go to college to pursue it. They accepted her with open arms. Then they noticed her birth date.
Simply because of that she would not be funded on a college course till the following year. Someone born two hours earlier would. How ridiculous was that!
You wouldn’t have thought so much would rest upon a birth date would you? But it does. And education as ever is about money not about individual needs. Birth dates make a difference to that as well.
Here’s an interesting item in the news today illustrating what impact a birth date can have on children’s achievement.
The really important point raised here is that dates shouldn’t be an issue. Not if children’s developmental and learning needs are being attended to, as policies and schools profess they are. Every child develops at a different rate and it’s not how old they are but where they’re at which matters. I think this illustrates that’s clearly not the case in the system.
When you home educate you can take away date boundaries and educate to where they’re at. You can give them activities to do that suit them irrespective of their age. You can introduce concepts when they’re ready not when the teachers or classmates are ready. They can learn new things when they need to not when the curriculum dictates. Best of all they can read whenever or whatever they like whether it’s Lord Of The Rings at seven years of age, or Elmer at twelve. It doesn’t matter. It all evens out in the end and no one would know any difference.
What matters is paying attention to their personal stage, not their age. With home education you get the chance to prevent the situation outlined in the article and your child gets the chance to learn in answer to their needs, rather than in answer to their birth date.