Catching up with what Home Educators already know…

Goodness gracious me! Are schools going to finally catch up with the thinking of home educators?

Here’s a report on the BBC website http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-26118581 making statements about children’s education and schooling which are amazingly similar to the beliefs of many home educating parents that; ‘there’s more to good education than exam results’.

Yay! At last – people are beginning to catch on to an idea that many home schooling parents have known for years!

The main point of the report suggests that educational focus should move away from concentration purely on academic results and include ‘personal development’.

Surely, this was always what education was about anyway!

The snag is that they want to build ‘character and resilience’ into the educational system which sounds decidedly worrying. What are they going to do? Start testing character? Will there then be a GCSE in character building?

Goodness gracious me!

That worry aside it looks like thinking is going in the right direction. Christine Blower, secretary of the National Union of Teachers also quoted in the article says that; education was “about skills and knowledge transmission, but also about personal development all round”.

“It remains the case, however, that the present curriculum and high-stakes testing are far too rigid,” she said.

“The personal development of pupils is very important. This will not be achieved unless the obsession with testing and targets ends.”

I think if there’s one overall reason why increasing numbers of parents are turning to home education it’s because they are concerned for personal development and worried about the destructive obsession with tests and silly objectives.

Because the most important point is that if you take care of the personal development of a child, high achievement is often what follows – naturally.

It works like this; if a person is taken care of, if they feel they matter, if they are given the respect of choice, if they are encouraged, stimulated and inspired, if they have the chance to explore and investigate life, to learn about and experiment in life, then they begin to see how achievement has value and begin to take it on for themselves.

Most children want to be grown up, want the skills grown ups have, want to follow their grown up mentors out into the world of work and pay and play and achievement. That’s all the motivation they need to develop and achieve. Just give them a good example and they’ll normally follow. As long as they are developed enough personally, in character, socially, intellectually (and that doesn’t have to mean academically).

It’s the personal bit that comes first.

Home educating parents pay attention to that personal development through the care, respect, stimulation and interaction they have with their children. That’s all it takes really. And they are breaking new ground in approaching the education of their young through this personalised approach and creating educational successes.

I wonder if one day the schools (or rather the politicians) will turn to them to understand better just how this is achieved!

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4 thoughts on “Catching up with what Home Educators already know…

  1. My children are nearing the age of school and I am absolutely paralyzed with indecision. I hear that “real” educator in my own head every time I come to the conclusion that homeschool is the best answer. I wonder if more parents would opt for home education if we could squelch those fears of inadequacy? I have spent the better part of 2 weeks feverishly researching everything I can find regarding home education. I am grateful to have found your blog today. Thank you.

    • Hi Dierdre, you are not alone in this! I think the best way to tackle it is to remember that no decision is irreversible! If you are happily parenting and developing your child at home there’s no reason why you can’t continue this while it works for you all – home schooling is just an extension of that. No decision is for life and their education should be constantly reviewed anyway. And with all the resources and groups available now on blogs and social media there is enormous support and information. You might find some comfort in my two Home Education books and I’m so glad to know you’ve found support here. Thanks for commenting. x

  2. When I saw the headline on the BBC news channel, I thought it was good news and going in the right direction. But, as you say, it seems like this is just going to be an extra stress on children – are they going to have to prove their character has reached a certain level by a certain age? I suppose the one positive is that at least the politicians are now recognising that heart of education should be happy and secure children. The cynic in me wonders if Gove has said this to combat the ‘children are not little robots’ argument against the rest of his ludicrous policies. It saddens me to say that I don’t think home educators are ever going to be taken seriously by some of the “real” (I use this term very loosely and with a good dose of irony!) educators and asked our opinion; a teacher said to me recently that it’s extremely arrogant of me to assume I can teach my child to the same standard as someone qualified to (I am actually a teacher, but have found that more of a hindrance as a home edder!). They’re just terrified of the fact that generally home educated children “outperform” school educated children and they haven’t been taught by someone “qualified!”
    I’ve just re-read my comment and realised I sound very cross today!

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