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!