When in school…

Not everyone can home educate! Of course not; not everyone is the same or lives the same circumstances. Obvious!

And some families who do home educate, have children in school as well, running both approaches alongside each other.

Having an awareness of home education though, does bring a different perspective to learning in school, as many of my school using friends commented. They said that some of the ideas I talked about, and the way we saw education, helped them embrace a different attitude which in turn supported their child’s education through school.

So I thought I’d post some of those perspectives here for those who have school in their lives, although they equally apply to homeschooling parents:

1) Take on the idea that schooling and education are different things. And decide what you’re schooling for so you can keep a healthy balance between personal skills, grades and scores. (This post might help)

2) Focus on their learning experience, not results, decide on the important bits. Keep engaged. But don’t take over. Create space (emotional as well as physical) to do the tasks they need to.

3) One of the best ways to support learning development is by reading to them!

4) As well as by listening. Let them air their concerns, news and ideas, without judgement or dismissal. Then they’re more likely to talk to you. Sometimes listening will ease concerns, other times you may need to discuss them and get involved.

5) If you’ve chosen school, then you’re probably bound by school rules like homework, uniform, tests, etc. But if you feel these are too intrusive you need to say. Many parents are against homework and SATs etc., so get together and get these things changed – it’s the parents that have the power in the end as a collective.

6) Understand the importance of playtime, outdoor time, exercise. These activities support learning, not detract from it, and are a vital part of a child’s day/life.

7) Create family times that are sacrosanct. Engaged family times and shared conversations are a way of supporting your child that is irreplaceable.

8) Social interaction and friendships in schools are tricky! Negotiate a sensitive pathway through the ups and downs by listening, discussing why people do what they do, by trying to remain non-judgemental, but at the same time setting out what you value in relationships and whether you want friends who don’t uphold these values. That goes for adult behaviour too! Make respect for all absolutely paramount regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, learning differences, whatever.

9) A friend said a simple idea she found most helpful was remembering: the children are not finished yet! Give them time. Stay on their side. Keep faith. Allow them to develop at their own rate and don’t compare them with others all the time. Magic happens at all different stages of young people’s development. Believe in your youngsters.

10) Finally, always be encouraging.

Whichever way you approach your children’s learning do please share your thoughts below – all perspectives are useful to hear!

14 thoughts on “When in school…

  1. You have some great insights, and there may be differences from state to state, but thankfully, we grew up when America was number one in the world and states had control over their schools, more local response to parents. The difficulty is many of today’s parents grew up while serious changes were occurring, and we are now at a place where what we understood while growing up is seemingly of the past. I implore people to think for themselves. However, this takes time and research. Truly understand the revolutionary war, the events leading, even from hundreds of years before. Talk to the elderly who grew up when America was number one: how they taught and the subjects. You see, as a teacher, I continued to learn and research even during my career. My goal, in addition to ensuring the students had their basics to mastery, received quality education, was to encourage them to think for themselves. I didn’t want them to be mimics of myself, for even if a student agreed with an opinion or way of looking, I would ask they why. If a student had a view different from my own, and it made sense, I learned. But I’ve always held to traditional family values and the lessons of our founding fathers including the lessons in our Constitution. What we see in America today is a complete rewrite of history, a serious attempt to change the social dynamics, and this is something parents need to be aware. Really listen. Really research. Be unafraid to really understand. I once prayed for understanding. Understanding is wonderful. The difficulty is when understanding comes, it opens up a whole can of worms, and one might not like what they realize. It’s like the movie: The Matrix. Once you wake up, do you want to really understand or go back to sleep when you thought everything was honky dory? Young people are their parents charge. The parents bear the sole responsibility to ensure they are learning well, but also have a foundation of responsibility and understanding, able to think for themselves, the latter needing parental protection until the little ones are strong enough to fend for themselve.

    • thanks very much for taking time to leave your comment. I agree in that one of our many parental responsibilities is to help children build the skills to be analytical, discerning and think things out for themselves!

      • That’s very good. I also see children are like apples that don’t fall far from the tree. This can be very good. In class, when I’ve had students with parents who are very responsible, hard working, and industrious, we see the impact on their children. I think that’s why I like watching the Scripps Ranch Spelling Bee, for those kids love learning, seeing success as a joy. The parents are great examples, and the kids/teens follow the values they grew up with. Parents and the extended family are very important to the children. Yes, children need to develop themselves, but they also find value, tremendous value, in the love and correction within the family. Thank you for all you do.

  2. One of the things I’ve learned as a home ed parent is knowing when to get out of their way. Holding respect & space for imaginative play is a priority in our house. It’s not always easy to do & I can feel an overwhelming sense of urgency that we should be doing something more studious but sometimes we need to stand back. When they’re engrossed in their own games they’re learning so much about compromise & problem solving; they’re building, exploring, sharing, creating, resolving conflicts and most importantly having fun. I do my best to not interrupt those times. The more ‘studious’ activities can & do fit in around it. I think imaginative play is the real business of childhood.

    • I wholeheartedly agree Penny! And it’s really hard to get out of the way sometimes – so well done! 🙂 Thanks so much for taking the time to be here, always appreciate it when readers respond! Thank you.

  3. At one point I literally couldn’t do number 3 and made up stories to “read” to them. Plus I was so busy keeping them fed and in clean clothes, that education at one point was damn near impossible to even consider as a priority. They learnt limits to my patience, what desperate looks like, how to cope, when, where… and companionship… They seem to have survived and thrived to become beautiful people with such different variety of personalities and skills.

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