Will I fail the children?

It doesn’t matter who you are, how long you’ve been a parent or home educator, beginner or seasoned, whether you’ve been in teaching or not, this will no doubt be a question that lurks menacingly in the back of your subconscious like an unwelcome zombie!

I asked it too, not only when we started home educating but throughout.

Being a very pragmatic person I eventually evolved an answer, so I thought I’d share it here in case you need some reassurance.

But let’s start with something bizarre; bizarre, isn’t it, that parents generally don’t ask the same question – will I fail the children? – when sending the them to school! Perhaps we should.

Of course, with schooling, there are more guarantees – supposedly! Thousands go to school, it’s got to be okay hasn’t it? And for thousands it works. So that’s become an accepted guarantee.

But other thousands are questioning it now; questioning its outmoded approach, it’s lack of attention to the needs of contemporary young people, it’s damaging testing and regimentation of what is supposed to be a broadening and inspiring life experience (that’s education I’m talking about!) So school definitely isn’t as much a guarantee of a successful education as once supposed.

Anyway, how could it be? Kids grow and change constantly – there are in reality no guarantees with any of it. So don’t think that just because you home educate there’s more likelihood of failure than with school. There isn’t.

But the basic reasons you won’t fail your child if you home educate are because:

  1. If you’re considering home education, or already embarked upon it, you’re probably a thinking, conscientious, engaged parent – you wouldn’t be reading this otherwise. A thinking, engaged and conscientious parent can easily make a success of home education by the very nature of being so and by parenting in the intelligently thoughtful way you no doubt do, so in this way you cannot fail.
  2. The thinking, engaged and conscientious parent you are makes a success of it by remaining open, learning yourself, trial and error, facilitating what’s needed at the time, revising often and embracing new challenges. You don’t need to know it all – no one does!
  3. A thinking, engaged and conscientious parent is able to build respectful and engaged relationships with their children and it is these relationships which facilitate the development of an educated young person, as much as any other resources you may provide.
  4. A thinking, engaged and conscientious parent is one who is intuitive to their child’s needs and yet is also able to see those needs within the context of the wider world, how the children fit into it and contribute and take a responsible place within it.
  5. The thinking, engaged and conscientious parent you are researches, connects with others, discusses and considers, remains flexible and develops an approach that works because when it doesn’t you change it and make new decisions, until it does succeed.
  6. And finally, failure is only a human label, not necessarily a ‘thing’. Failure only exists when something doesn’t work as expected which we fail to learn from or move forward from in new ways. Failure is part of an educational journey from which we grow and develop and which points the way to success. Therefore, failure is only failure when you stay there! You can make every ‘failure’ a step towards success when you don’t give up on it.

So, if you encourage, stimulate, provide a variety of experiences, remain flexible and conscious of young people’s needs and lives, in relation to the needs of the wider world, learn and grow yourself (as parents we do that all the time anyway), and above all LOVE and RESPECT your kids as I’m sure you already do, YOU WILL NOT FAIL!

5 thoughts on “Will I fail the children?

  1. You are right that it does not matter how long we have been home educating we will still have these wobbles. Each age/stage of a child’s life means that they you as parent are constantly having to assess if you are meeting their needs and just when you think you have it all sorted something goes along to change it all and you are back to the drawing board again. Despite that I would not have it any other way, it is such a privilege to be able to home educate my children and it is the best job I have ever had.

  2. I started to giggle recalling the only thing to prove I wasn’t failing my kids when I was angry and they were still alive after I stopped shouting! {{{giggles}}} and yet there they are, full grown, pretty well rounded individuals. That they learnt how to avoid winding others up (or them clever little darlings were perhaps experimenting to find out what does wind people up). Geez, we grew up together, learnt to get along without killing each other in all our differences (5 kids and me). Only the last one was home school and some of the others are fuming for it, but you cannot win all the gold stars with the [Parent] label, you just have to be yourself.

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