How many GCSEs does it take to breed neglect?

I’m not only a home educating parent! I am other things as well.

And our kids are not just home school kids, they are other things too.

It’s just it can feel all consuming sometimes and become a single identity it’s hard to break. People love to keep others in labelled boxes!

Equally, school kids are not only their grades. Although you’d think that with the way some people are obsessed over them, as if it was the only thing their life was about.

Speaking to a young teen doing ten GCSEs at school at the moment it certainly felt like it for him. It’s become his whole life without room for anything else, each teacher expecting an undivided dedication to their subject when there are nine others also expecting the same.

Nightmare! Or mental illness in the making.

The people and the politics which push the system seem to believe that the harder they push the kids along this line the cleverer they’ll be. This is the propaganda parents are sold.

But the reality doesn’t work that way at all.

The approach which makes the kids ‘cleverer’ if that’s the term – generally intelligent is a better way to describe it –  is diversity. Diversity of skills, of thoughts, of experiences most particularly. The more varied those experiences, pursuits, activities, hobbies, pastimes, interests and learning, the broader and deeper their intelligence will be. And the greater their personable skills which are essential for life and work after school.

The more home educated young adults I see the more it’s obvious how broad minded, open to learning and intelligent they are, some without doing GCSEs at all. They are articulate, inclusive, empathetic, very social and willing. Forging an independent future with an entrepreneurial approach to getting where they want to go.

This is usually because of the range of experiences they’ve been exposed to during their time learning out of school. And this diversity of experience is sadly what the school GCSE treadmill neglects, thus neglecting the broadness of education that will stand kids in good stead for the future and, I feel, letting so many of them down, chaining them to a track that leaves little time for anything else.

GCSEs are useful. But only if you’ve got the other set of skills needed to know what to do with them and how to do it.

Ten GCSEs are not necessary. Many home schooled kids stick to the standard five and engage in a range of other activities that develop other necessary skills for life ahead. Like conversing with people for a start. Knowing what they want and what they want to go for.

So if you’ve got youngsters out of the system don’t buy into the propaganda that they need heads down at academic study all the time. Exclusive academia makes them dull – Unis and employers don’t want that.

Heads up and engaged with other things is what extends their intelligence and is just as educative.

By using the opportunity home educating gives you to broaden their experiences and activities you’ll also be broadening their brains and personalities, developing the other lifeskills they need to propel themselves towards a fulfilling and productive future that takes them beyond being a homeschool kid!

Their education is not just their GCSEs!


8 thoughts on “How many GCSEs does it take to breed neglect?

  1. Thanks for this. I’m an example of the student who did loads of GCSEs because it was normal in my school (a state grammar) to do around 10 or 11 and on top of that I’d been fast tracked in a subject so had an early GCSE and was working on an AS Level in year 10. By age 16 I didn’t know how to challenge myself except to do more formal qualifications, so on top of taking extra AS/A Level subjects on school time I’d found and paid for (with my £3/hour Saturday shop girl money) a long distance AS Level course. I was a straight A, prize winning student who quite desperately hoped that (and was also possible a little addicted to) the feeling that my performance in these things would mean something real for my future job security, as insecurity was something I’d seen enough of to fear. If I could do it again, or talk to the younger version of myself (which I often do as those students tend to find my work now) then I’d do what I could to show them that the number of qualifications means nothing if you’ve never created anything you care about sharing with people other than teachers for a mark.

    Ross, I’m enjoying your blog and just wondering if you’d consider applying to speak at a TEDx Education event on the theme ‘Inspiring Generations’ that’s in March 2017? More info is on the website here and feel free to pop me a message if you’ve any questions. I’m on the organising team, but am not involved in speaker section which frees me up to help applicants with advice and ideas.

    • Thanks so much Leah for your great comment and sharing your story. I absolutely love your remark about qualifications meaning nothing if you’ve never created anything you care about! Inspiring – inspired me to keep writing about the subject really when I often want to stop! As for TEDx – I’ll get over the shock of the thought of it and email you – eventually! But thank you for your faith in me!

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