I find it slightly bizarre that the questions people generally ask of home educating parents are not questions they’ve asked about schools, yet they happily send their children there! I know some who never give it a second thought, let alone question it.
Have you noticed the same?
For example, take the socialisation issue which is always raised. Namely the question; how will my children become used to a social world without going to school? That’s a common one. (Article on socialisation here)
But why is no one asking of schools; how will my children become used to a social world, used to mixing with all sorts of people of all ages, and form appropriate relationships with adults who are not only teachers and do not have a sole agenda obsessed with grades, if they’re confined with a bunch of kids all their own age who have no social skills themselves and when they sometimes have to endure some adults who are little better?
Makes you think when it’s put that way round!
Another question always asked of home educators; how will the children become educated if they’re not in school? I would ask; how do school children become properly educated about this wide, diverse world whilst shut away from its myriad of subject matter – social, scientific, geographical, philosophical, humanitarian, creative and sustainable – how will they develop all those personal aspects needed for empathy, inclusiveness etc – when they’re confined to an academically discriminative strait-jacket of a curriculum solely designed for fact-stacking for exams?
And the question that really makes me incredulous is this one; how will they be prepared for the real world if they don’t go to school?
In answer I repeat something I regularly say; school in no way replicates the real world I’ve experienced – I don’t know about you?
In the real world we are not restricted as to whom we mix and learn with (unless you’re racist, ageist, sexist or in some other way discriminative). You mix with a wide range of people who show you respect and probably move away from those who don’t, which you cannot do in school, and you mix with those whom you respect in return. You have choice – that makes a difference. You have opportunities to make informed and relevant choices – relevant to your real world that is, rather than choices made for you to suit an institutional agenda. And the real world I’ve inhabited over the years has enabled me to develop the skills to think for myself, not discouraged independent thinking in favour of training for mass obedience to establishment and corporate ideas alone.
I don’t want to persuade everyone to home educate. Of course not. It isn’t suitable for all and is not the answer.
But I would like to encourage people to ask the same questions of schooling that they ask of home schooling. Because we need something different now.
We should all be questioning an outdated institution – just like we’re questioning our outdated use of plastic now we know better. Questioning an institution that in many instances fails to equip children with the skills they need for the contemporary world, and support those with specific needs so all can have equal access to an equal education, and learn how to fit into and engage with a real world much changed from what it was when compulsory education began.
And perhaps the only way that can happen is to change the corporate model of education we now have, to develop diverse and indie thinkers and questioners, who will think up solutions and act out solutions (think Greta Thunberg) far better than those trained simply for mass institutional obedience!
Which raises another question; is that what schooling does?
Read an article about ‘intelligent disobedience’ from the book ‘Unsafe Thinking’ here It certainly looks like it does at times!