Are we depriving our home educated children? They’re not going to be able to do school reunions!
I have friends who go off to school reunions – some with pleasure – some with dread. This family recently had a reunion with another home educating family we’ve grown up with over the past thirteen years. The parents have done as much growing up as the kids.
We’ve shared so many great experiences; picnics by the river with pond dipping and swimming, visits to museums, theatres and galleries, sessions of science or craft or field trips and many, many hours of play whilst we chatted about our home education concerns and anxieties, triumphs and successes.
This time we sat and chatted about our concerns over the education our grown up young people are now receiving in various institutions and our shock at the lack of professionalism and quality of teaching.
Don’t misunderstand me – I’m not saying the quality of our teaching was superior because we didn’t exactly teach them anyway; we just provided and guided many a diverse educational experience. But we didn’t have that mass of other influences to taint this education like the institutions do; things like petty politics and grade winning, competition and tutor pleasing, and managerial agendas that crap on good learning experiences. These are the things that impact on an education. And that impact is usually detrimental.
You see, you really can’t teach an education. I learnt this early on. You can impart knowledge but that doesn’t make an education or a learner learn, despite what the institutions would have us believe. But they would, wouldn’t they – they are big political machines that want parents to believe they can’t do without them.
But the thing is; ‘Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of the learners’. John Holt.
It was the word ‘activity’ in this idea that governed the way we home educated. Our home learners certainly had plenty of that, most of it non-academic, much of it experimental, some of it left me wondering how they could possibly learn anything from it. But they did. And as a result I don’t think any of our kids have been deprived of a good education even if they’ve been deprived of ‘school reunions’. They’ll just have home education reunions instead.
But best of all, the activities they did over all those years have left their desire to learn intact and strong enough to withstand the frustrations they sometimes feel within the confines of institutional education now. And I know that had they been left in school, where that desire was already being extinguished by lack of inspiring activity, it would have been a very different story.