Clockwork straitjackets…

001  Hours and hours of uninterrupted chat! Couldn’t have ever conceived of it when we were home educating our children and had little ears tuned into every conversation.

My friend and I can now chat for ages although even without all the kids at home full time we still talk about them.

Between us we have one working, two at Uni, one at college, and one undecided. And the great thing about home education is ‘undecided’ doesn’t matter. Because time scales don’t matter. Children can learn as it’s relevant.

Home educators can ditch ridiculous time scales that suit the institutions of schooling but don’t suit many a child. They can make their own time scales, whether it means getting up late and learning later in the day, or doing it at the crack of dawn even before washing if they’re keen. It means they can learn when they’re motivated and stick at for hours if they want instead of having to stop and shuffle off to different lesson. It means they can read when they’re ready not when others deem they’re ready. They can stop wasting time doing tests and SATs and continue with real live learning. They can do GCSEs when they’ll get the best value from them whether that’s at fourteen or twenty four or if at all!

And our experience is that they can do all this and still become educated, motivated, intelligent and qualified and go forward into productive lives, despite not sticking to time scales which schools terrorise parents into believing are of value.

Nothing is worse than believing your child is ‘underachieving’. Underachieving in school terms only means they are not achieving set outcomes within set timescales. It doesn’t mean they’ll never achieve them, although in school they may not get another chance. Learning doesn’t have to be like that.

When home educating, you begin to see that these time scales don’t really matter at all and it’s shocking that thousands of parents are made to feel bad about their kids because of them.

What’s so ironic about this is that home educating families very often find that once you remove those time constraints children very often achieve what all kids are achieving within a very similar framework. And without having to feel bad about it.

When kids are twenty who would know if they talked early, or read late, or didn’t understand fractions till they were fifteen?

Keeping education within a rigid timescale is making an unnecessary strait jacket for it. And it’s positively terrifying to think that they are told they have to make decisions about the whole of their future by the time they’re choosing options at thirteen.

‘Undecided’ in my view means keeping options open. It means recognition of the fact that we are all different, and that the best way to approach education is the best way to approach life; with flexibility and an open mind. Let’s stop making young people feel bad because of clockwork straitjackets!


9 thoughts on “Clockwork straitjackets…

  1. I get very strange looks when I say we cant do anything in the mornings because my son doesn’t get up till late. The normal response is ” well, wake him” ohhhhh wake the sleeping lion – you come and do it and then put up with the verbal and physical abuse all day ( that also gets strange looks ) but why aggravate a child with complex needs to hate you and the day ahead? And I love my ME time x

  2. How true and not just regarding school education but when a baby walks, talks etc and later in life we do not need to feel bad about our timing with anything. I also don’t wear a watch as day to day time is not about numbers but if you feel the time is right for YOU.

  3. I totally agree! My son read aloud to me this morning in the car on the way back from the library. For 20 minutes! He had a book he was excited about. This time last year at school he was ‘struggling’ with reading and writing. Not anymore!! Not having an imposed timescale means he reads more than ever. He’s still not much of a writer but that doesn’t have to hold him back at home. He talks instead (something that used to annoy his teachers!) As for starting school at 9, well generally our planned work is normally finished by then as they are up and raring to go at 6. Sometimes I’m still a bit hazy though!

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