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!