School; so wrong for so many

book coverSchool is very right for so many too, although you maybe wouldn’t expect a home educator to say that.

However I readily acknowledge that for some it works extremely well. But I thought I’d repeat this post because of the sudden increased interest in Home Education as parents don’t get places for their children in the schools of their choice. And also as some don’t understand that school doesn’t have the monopoly on learning.

We’ve been sold school for so long as the only way to an education. But, actually, it isn’t and it isn’t good for many children – and that’s just the climate I’m talking about never mind the learning – and some children don’t learn much of value there anyway. They are educated for something else instead; how to survive in a school setting and pass tests. Which is a bit of a waste as once outside the school setting life’s nothing like that, had you noticed?

For example; what if when you went into work you were only allowed to work and mix with people who were the same age as you? What if you had to endure the disruptive, frightening and bullying behaviour of your peers, which bosses could do nothing about, and you had NO POWER to do anything about either? What if your work was considered of no value unless it put the company up league tables? And what if you were told you had to endure it for the next ten years or so – for your own good apparently even though it may make you ill – and you had NO VOICE in the matter whatsoever? No CHOICE at all? How would you feel about working in a culture like that?

Yet this is the culture in which many children find themselves in school. For some kids it’s okay, some are lucky, others it doesn’t seem to bother, or they’re in schools which are more respectful of children. For others it’s hell.

When I worked in schools I saw much that wasn’t doing kids any favours. It was the wrong approach to learning for many. Some failed to thrive in that environment. The emphasis was on scores not on people. It was an unpleasant and threatening atmosphere at times. But no one seemed bothered about the impact on the kids.

After we started to home educate a GP friend of mine said that he was seeing an increasing number of school-stress related illnesses among children, so much so that he did sometimes make the parents aware of the choice to home educate.

And that’s where the crux of the matter lies – in CHOICE!

In our lives outside school we always have choice. We think we don’t but it’s really that some of our choices are far too difficult to contemplate! However, the choice is always there. But choice has its drawbacks; you have to make decisions all the time. You have to take charge.

Children are so disempowered by the choice-less system of schooling that they have no ability to take charge – of anything. Sometimes they don’t even get a chance to in the home. Then parents and employers moan that young people have no common sense, no motivation, no initiative, no ability to make decisions, little understanding of what’s required of them outside school.

Is it any wonder really? When do they ever have the chance to learn to use their initiative, their common sense, to make decisions? And why would they understand about life outside school when school is nothing like it?

Schooling is SO prescriptive now that it takes away all opportunity for children to develop these kinds of essential life skills. But because we are so used to it, because we are threatened with the misinformation that without grades our kids won’t have a successful life and that justifies any means to get them, because it has become so ‘normal’ to subject our kids to this and call it education, little changes for the better.

What we need is less prescription, more people to care. And to understand that school isn’t that ‘normal’ in comparison to a working life outside, and parents to really think about what it’s all for and what it’s doing to their children.

This is what home educators do. Home educating parents are just ‘normal’ parents who have begun to understand that school isn’t the only answer to educating children. And the more there are of them choosing that route the more it will provide proof that other ways work too for those who want them. And maybe even schools can learn from that.

School is so wrong for so many. Thanks to home education we can choose to make a difference.

 

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7 thoughts on “School; so wrong for so many

  1. Actually, I was thrown into the world of homeschooling. The school district refused to accept my first daughter. She had sudden death syndrome until age 10, and the only choice public education offered me was the school for the mentally challenged. I guess Devine intervention stepped in, because I fell in love with homeschooling, and my Annie would have a horrible time in public schools.

  2. Such a beautifully balanced post, Ross. Our children can be so different and guiding them through childhood and young adulthood can be very challenging when you are trying to do the best for them. I have known several home educators where some of the children went to school whilst siblings did not.

    Prior to reading your post, I had decided that it might be a good idea to write a bit about my children’s journeys through home education and out the other side. I have also asked them to write about their perspective on it. I will split it over several posts as it may take some time to pull everything together. My eldest daughter is nearly 24 and my youngest is only 10 – it should make for interesting reading and I do not intend to censor their work.

    I look forward to your next post.

    Thanks

  3. Great post, Ross. My eldest was one of the lucky ones, school was a perfect fit for him and he has sailed through without any problems (just about to take his GCSE’s) although I always said that I would HE if it wasn’t working for any reason. As you say though, we are brought up to believe that school is the best place, so although it really wasn’t a good fit for my youngest, it took 4 years of trying before I finally took the plunge and pulled him out. It’s certainly not easy (after 2 years of HE he is still resistant to anything that looks like “school work”) but it is so much better than the stress and upset we experienced when he was in school.

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