You tend to ask yourself that when you’re watching your kids wilt in school.
“What’s your objective with your child’s schooling?” I asked a parent of a school going child looking for the answer.
“Oh! I haven’t ever thought about it,” she replied.
Really? Why not?
“What’s your objective for your children’s education?” I asked a home educating mum.
“Well, I want them to have confidence and the skills they need to lead life. With confidence they can do anything,” she answered.
Sounded like she’d thought about it a lot.
We had similar kinds of conversations with ourselves constantly once we’d withdrawn the children from school plus; ‘What is it about a person that makes them educated?’
Is it knowledge?
Not only; no amount of knowledge is worth anything in isolation. Knowledge is only useful if you have the skills to transfer it to living. No amount of qualifications are any good to you if you don’t know what to do on your first day of work, how to make decisions, interact with others, converse and adapt. Those are skills.
So skills development, especially social ones, must have a lot to do with being educated then? How do you get the kind of social understanding you need to live life?
By interacting with those who are living real lives and not just living school lives. No where outside school will you find such a limiting social experience, where you mix with so few adults, particularly not in the work place. And only by living real life can you build life skills.
Then there are life’s challenges, what equips you to deal with those?
Well – qualifications may show you’ve succeeded at something. But the biggest challenge you have to face in life is what you do when you don’t succeed. What you do as a result of failing, when you have to pick yourself up, confront the problem, deal with difficulties, maintain your self esteem and keep applying yourself.
To do that you need what my home educated friend said; confidence. Plus courage, the ability to think laterally, diversely and with a sensitive intelligence. The wisdom to see broadly, to care about and communicate with others, to have strength of character and self belief.
That’s what we decided a truly educated person needed as well as knowledge and through the process of living and learning together and educating our kids out of school we worked towards it.
You can read how it happened in ‘A Funny Kind of Education’.
And the little girl in the story, who was forever making things or performing or cheering us with her giggling, is now grown up and surging forward with work, her own businesses, making films and performing with that confidence. Hard to imagine!
Here’s her blog: http://alanna-somuchlove.blogspot.co.uk/
If you live in Brighton and you’re free tomorrow you can go meet her, see what she’s doing. She’s holding a little stall outside Snoopers, as part of the promotional work she’s been asked to do for Snoopers Attic in North Laine, (See some of the pictures here: http://snoopersattic.tumblr.com/) She’s selling her own customised items as well but she wants people to go along and show her what they’re making and wearing, make a bit of an event of it – shopping with a difference!
For there’s nothing like home educating for making kids think differently; for giving them the confidence to go for what they want, and the life skills with which to achieve it.
It makes them pretty nice people too!
As, we also decided, any education should.
And, incidentally, I’m telling you this about Chelsea, not because I want to brag – although course I’m proud, but because if you’re starting out on your home schooling journey you’ll need some proof of just how well other approaches work to give you faith!