Ask of schools what you ask of Home Ed!

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.

A very independent questioner!

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!

6 thoughts on “Ask of schools what you ask of Home Ed!

  1. We this is an odd situation. Compulsory home ed after just sending mine back to school! School isn’t full time of course, and if it were I would not be interested. Holidays are so important to pursue other pursuits that the NC cannot provide. Unfortunately many parents expect all education to come from school. The responsible remains with us, always, whatever time of the day. …My son is really struggling through this. Tears yesterday mainly about not seeing his friends ( not school as such). It’s going to be really tough. In fact I would say mentally unsustainable for all. I feel so lucky I have the prudence of being an ex home edder as the school is naively already trying to imitate school at home with suggested timetables and possible uniform, worksheets (which my child hates) all the best. M

    • Thanks Marcelo, it is indeed hard. Hard times for all. I’m hoping it will help people to rethink their priorities, not just about education, but about the ways we can now support and show kindness to others. You’ll have a wealth of valuable experience from your Home Ed days that you can pass on. But school is a culture most kids are used to and must find extremely upsetting to weather the current crisis – I completely understand that. I wish you and your family – and everyone caught up in this – all the very best. Really appreciate you leaving your comment. x

  2. Hi Ross you may find this group of interest. Comprehensivefuture.org.uk and Nomorefaithschools. Both want to bring schools together to reflect society better. A first step perhaps in a long journey.( The research against selective 11+ schools is interesting at Comprehensive Futures research pages. ) All the best. Marcelo

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