Learning for Life – not for schools

So the school children have gone back to the classroom. But the home educators still can’t go out in the way they’re used to. That must be tough, as I know that home education is a misnomer – learning takes place out of it as much as in!

I guess it’s tough though for many school parents worrying about their children becoming infected with coronavirus, although the general overall vibe I’m sensing is one of relief!

School closures certainly turned a very different spotlight on home education, genuine home education that is, not school-at-home (blog here) which is what most have been doing and is completely different. I wonder if home educators will gain more respect and understanding of what they do after every parent has endured this time without the facility of school.

What is certain is that our culture of family life, of economy and working and how that operates with regard to parenting, is for the most part dependent on the school system being there to child mind, let alone educate. Whether that justifies what goes on in there is questionable!

The recent pandemic has raised many questions about education, economy, family life, culture – everything really. As parents are more involved in what their kids are learning many are coming face to face with the absurdity of some of the stuff on the curriculum. As this article in Prospect illustrates

School learning has become so far removed from learning about real life, living and surviving challenges like the pandemic – all important things we really need to know – it’s no wonder people are asking of their child’s work; ‘what’s the point of this?’

There must be better things to learn?

There certainly are, and maybe this is why so many parents now are turning to home education. Because most are beginning to see that home education is life education. Unlike school education. And true education is not the consumption of facts and tricks and strategies for the sole purpose of measurement and qualification, even though qualification may be part of it. True education needs to be about enabling people to live a life that is useful, fulfilling and non harming.

Education is after all about learning to understand life, how it works, how you work in it, how you find a place, make a place, make a social life, integrate, communicate, care, and do all this without harm to others or the environment.

Home educators seem to understand that to facilitate this requires a far more organic and life-led approach for most than the systematic drilling of useless grammar and mathematical processes that none of us will ever use again but is more likely to put us off the subjects if forced upon us too early.

This is what most enlightened parents have spotted about their children’s school-at-home stuff, that much of it is like that; beyond the kids, useless in a real world outside school, not even interesting!

A school world and school academics are not a true reflection of the world beyond it.

That’s why learning as a home schooler takes place as much out of the home as in it. And why most home educated youngsters graduate from it with a broad intelligence and range of skills, including those associated with socialisation, that equips them so well for real life.

They understand that learning is not just for schools! That it is a life-long tool and they can take it on themselves, any time, any age.

I’m wondering how many school youngsters understand that.

17 thoughts on “Learning for Life – not for schools

  1. A very real concern, begging the question, is why any parent, having had time to teach at home, discovering the level of disinformation they’ve attained, would send them back into propaganda camps.

  2. Absolutely spot-on Ross. Thanks for writing this. I’ve just sent something along very similar lines to a conservationist friend as a guest-blog, explaining why school isn’t necessarily ‘the best place for children’ as the endless government adverts keep trying to tell us.

    Schools and teachers do their best in the face of a rigid exams-focused curriculum and vanishingly small resources, but the whole system needs a massive re-think and to become far more centred on children’s well-being and individual development. The kind of outdoor, hands-on, creative learning that we do as home educators needs to become the norm if we are going to prepare the next generation to tackle the big environmental and social issues that we are facing. We need to trust and empower children and teachers to do things that really work rather than just things that can be measured.

  3. thank you Ross. Seeing the work that has come home and the video lessons, has once again, got me thinking about Mr Gove’s new curriculum and its lack of relevance in say 12 years times (my son is 9) , I probably value my sons school interaction, arguments, fall outs and make ups at school more than the school itself. Maths in particular seem quite irrelevant at year 5 and he is growing to hate subjects sadley. I could go on a massive vent right now but I will stop myself and just say .. .thanks!

  4. Pingback: Reblogs - Learning for Life – not for schools - How to teach a difficult child

  5. Thank you Ross. This is your best post ever! You have said everything that needs to be said about why about Home Ed is Life Ed and Life Ed is Home Ed.
    And thank you for putting it out there that our kids are having to endure the continued restrictions to their joy of learning and socialising in the real world. It’s really hard on them. It’s a relatively huge proportion of their young lives compared to us adults.

    • Thanks so much for your compliments Caroline, they’re really appreciated. I’ve been feeling for you all during lockdown as I remember it was so necessary to get out and about. May it end soon for you. Good luck and all the best!

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