The ignorance of some of the educated!

The fight or flight response kicks in automatically now. Palms sweat, breathing goes gaspy, limbs shaky. I brace myself for an onslaught.

This is what happens every time I listen to another piece about home education on the news. For it’s often laced with an attack.

LBC radio featured a piece about it the other night with callers chirping in. (Sorry – can’t find a recording!) As well as a few positives there was a right barrage from an angry teacher (surprisingly it’s often teachers who feel the need to attack) who obviously felt threatened. But it wasn’t from directly offensive remarks the like of which we get, she was threatened by us mere parents assuming they can do what teachers do, without all their training, and educate our own kids. She was incensed at the thought!

It’s odd that teachers should feel threatened by homeschoolers – why would that be? And it also displays the depth of the misconception they are under.

For parents don’t assume they can do what teachers have to do because they’re not teaching in the way teachers have to teach and they’re not doing it to a system which requires them to teach it. They are educating completely differently from what teachers understand as teaching.

And ironically it is those professionals’ narrow minded view of teaching and learning that prevents many from understanding the true nature of education in the broader sense, as opposed to simply institutionalised schooling.

The other thing we were wrongly accused of in this particular discussion – and another common one – was of preventing our children from mixing and inhibiting the children’s chance to gain qualifications. Our kids have as much opportunity as they choose to go where they want to go, be with who they want to be with and get what they need to do it – how is that inhibiting? It’s school which inhibits those choices surely – for they should be choices.

With all the work so many of us do to raise awareness and understanding of home education you’d think people were becoming a bit more enlightened. So I find it totally ironic that whenever home educating parents are accused of being ignorant of educating – usually by someone in the teaching profession – those professionals making accusations do so from a position of their own obvious ignorance of home education – without direct experience usually. Is that not a clear case of the pot calling the kettle black as the saying goes?

When these ignorant people are being so insulting, they should perhaps remember they are also insulting all the EDUCATED, INTELLIGENT, QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL, HARD-WORKING home educated ADULTS who are now already grown up, already out in the WORKPLACE, who never went to school.

So despite panic attacks I keep on saying how it is when I can, as many other brave parents do, in the hope of lessening this ignorance about a positive and successful approach to children’s education.

And on a more positive note I’d like to bring your attention to a more enlightened piece here in the papers asking why so many parents feel the need to give up on school and home educate.

Marta Drew and her children home educating featured in The Guardian

The question could also be asked – why are so many teachers turning to it too? For they are. Is it because they’ve seen what happens to kids’ in the conveyor belt system? Is it because they don’t want their individuals on that conveyor belt either?

I wonder?


14 thoughts on “The ignorance of some of the educated!

  1. The first two people on the LBC piece were Helen Lees and me, there was only the one (or possibly two) negative caller. And the interviewer Iain Dale was so interested by our exchange he’s planning on covering it again.

    All in all I thought it was quite a positive session.

    • Thanks for this Jax – I only caught the tail end so must have just heard the worst bit! So glad to hear you had a positive conversation and the presenter was positive too, that’s great to hear – roll on the next one!

  2. I’m an ex teacher who now home educates my three young children. I left the education system because I didn’t agree with the pressures put on children these days. I therefore felt very hypocritical and torn when I was sending my own children to school (thankfully only reception year) Our household is a much happier place since we made the decision a year ago 🙂

    • Thank you Lorna, great to hear from you and I really appreciate you taking the time to share this with us. Wishing you all the very best with your home education – enjoy! x

  3. Fiona Nicholson is absolutely right. With all the highly negative publicity in the media about Home Educating over the last 6 months, there has been a an absolute deluge of new members in the Facebook Home Ed groups of which I am a member. I would estimate that their membership has increased by 25% in 6 months. And it’s a real mixture. Some are existing Home Educators who are finding the groups. Most are either people taking kids out of school with various difficulties with the system, or, increasingly, parents of pre-schoolers who intend to Home Educate from the beginning. All publicity is good publicity, as the advertising executives say!

  4. Every piece, however negative, increases awareness of home ed as a legal option. I’ve seen some good phone-ins on local radio but too often the media just picks an easy target because every Tom Dick and Harry feels entitled to sound off about home ed.

  5. Homeschooling never was considered by us 20 years ago because we didn’t know about it. But having put 2 children through the system I wonder if they would have fared better . Homeschooling sounds like a well rounded program for life allowing growth and thinking outside of the box.

  6. You are welcome Ross. I would like to add we are just ordinary folk, as her parents we are not highly educated ourselves and we reside in a modest house on a predominately local authority estate. We lived on one average income all the time she was home educated. All we had was a strong desire for our rather somewhat frustratingly (at times) studious daughter to be happy and the freedom that she had was worth the sacrifice. She was practically self taught including taking her GCSE’s as an external candidate, She took A levels in a local college as our local school ‘Sixth Form Opportunities’ would not accept her with ‘only’ 3 GCSE’s, (which is all she sat) because of their blanket admission criteria. In hindsight I honestly believe that she would have been very frustrated with having to adjust to their way of teaching; yet her college lecturers were supportive and respected her for being the studious and ambitious young person that she had become over the years with her self developed learning style. Sadly the college has since dropped academic A levels altogether which may have had an impact on other previously HE young people.
    Thank you for allowing me onto your page to comment on a subject that is still very close to my heart.

    • Another fab comment Jackie; thank you. Lovely to hear your story. In fact I did message you to ask if you’d like to have a guest post all to yourself to tell it, as not everyone would get as far as reading it here. I’m very grateful to you for sharing. I’m sure others would be inspired. And I’m forever championing the abilities of ‘ordinary folk’ to educate their child themselves with just a little thought and attention. You’re the proof of how it works! Congratulations!

  7. Hi Ross, Having read your post I feel sorry that I missed that radio debate. I would have liked to have phoned in to say that a teacher is not officially classed as an academic unless they also have a PHd. Many teachers have A levels and qualifications in teaching of course , but arguably that does not amount to being THE absolute specialists in delivering knowledge on a subject.
    I am a Mother of a highly educated, previously home educated daughter who obtained all A levels at A* , has a BSc at Distinction,( her Psychology A level was the highest mark in Edexcel for the whole of the UK in 2010) an MSc at Distinction and is starting a Phd this year in the sciences. She might be the top end of the bar but I am certain that her absolute love of learning and passion for knowledge is only down to her experience of home education.
    As she is in the workplace and fits in very well her ‘social education’ was in no way marred by being away from the classroom. In fact she is very confident and delivers presentations to her peers with respect for Professors and members of the public alike. This confidence at her age of 23 is probably also down to mixing with people of all ages and walks of life throughout her childhood.
    My blood would have boiled listening to such ignorance on the radio from a teacher who obviously thinks that I did my daughter a disservice while presuming that she could have done better!

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