I was asked this question the other day and it completely threw me!
It was only a passing question in a two minute conversation. But I so wanted to give a positive answer because, as has happened to me before when I’ve mentioned that we home schooled, the face of the person changed into a black cloud of disapproval and suspicion. And I could see they were one of the people who were ignorant of home education in general – as so many who feel the need to pass judgement are – and I wanted to give a short, positive response
But how the heck do you answer other than with the cliché; ‘how long have you got?’ Especially when lengthy explanations are not appropriate and you can see the person’s already made their mind up about it anyway?
Sadly this was an instant where they’d experienced all the negatives, being in a job that had to deal with parents who were less conscientious than yourselves, who home educate maybe for all the wrong reasons, and who fail to take any kind of responsibility for their children’s education either in school or otherwise.
The sad case of home education being used as a cop-out.
Dismally it seems more prevalent. Where some would use the term ‘home education’ to cover up their lack of responsibility, (schools included), insulting and damaging the effective and successful learning approach of thousands of dedicated and conscientious parents. And also insulting the thousands of young people who have graduated from home schooling into the social and working world, making a valid and responsible contribution. Although they’re usually not the ones that get the press!
What do we say to those insulting ignoramuses who only see – and want to see – the negative side of home educating that the sensationalist media coverage likes to tell in order to sell stories? To those who blinker their opinions and judgements through inaccurate and narrow minds – and experience?
I’ve given the matter much thought. And the only answer I could come up with, without embarking on a long in-depth lecture that isn’t appropriate in most conversations, was this:
You home educate by taking your child out in the world. By showing them their world and others’ and by facilitating their relationship with it based around building knowledge, understanding, skills, experience and interaction with it and the society within it. And ultimately how they will contribute to it.
Do you think that covers it?
Pease leave your answers in the comments below (as well as on Facebook as no one’s limited to seeing it here) and it will help us to explain to all those who have not yet had the wonderful opportunity of seeing how home education really works be inspired. And help stop the barrage of uninformed media inaccuracies that are such a shameful – and discriminative – insult to so many.
And remember that the approach you take is valid, responsible, inspiring, the saviour of many a child, and well worth the doing despite the offensive comments of those who are too ignorant to understand!
Feel free to pass it on….