I missed it! The advent of the one thousandth blog posted here.
I was busy moving house, settling into new routines of living and trying to find that network of support you’ve built up over the years of living in the same place, which you tend to take for granted until it disappears that is. Support like folks to fix your laptop, mend the car, sort out a leak in the roof and most important, install some decent heating.
So I completely missed the fact that since I started here, over twenty years ago, I have written over one thousand blogs about the life and times of a home educating family, now all grown up of course, and about education in general.
Home education has dramatically changed since then, the biggest of those changes being the growth of the facility of the internet which has increased its accessibility; to others, to information, to a whole home educating community you were never aware of, consequently making home education so much less daunting, more doable and more connected.
When we first started out none of that was available.
And that connectivity has more importantly changed something else as well. It has changed the way many parents see education and schooling.
Most parents accepted that schools, the education system and the politics behind it, was bound to be the best education their child was likely to receive, the best and only way for their children to become educated adults.
No one is quite so accepting now. Flaws in the system, what it provides in the form of ‘processing’ the young in contrast to educating them, and the impact this has not only on their achievement but on mental health too, are much more visible as people talk and share and discuss it, through a whole range of public platforms that were not available before. It’s removed some of the elitism attached to those in the know about education (supposedly) who dictated what happened to our kids, which we never had the opportunity to challenge or question in the way we do now.
Now we do. Parents are raising questions, discussing problems, are much more able to shout their opinions widely and publicly express their distaste in an outdated system no longer suited to contemporary society. Consequently, finding courage through this connectivity, the number of home educating families seeking alternatives increases daily.
Anyway, back to this post-one-thousandth blog and the reason I mention it. It was to share with you what those little children of six and nine when we started, who are around their thirties now (can hardly believe it) are up to in case you worried that home educating would ruin them, as I know this can be a very large and imposing worry for many considering home educating: Will we ruin the children’s lives? (Odd how no one questions whether school will ever ruin their children’s lives – even with tangible truth of it now)
I’m happy to say that neither of them have been ruined, not from my point of view or theirs! And we all still have that lovely relationship developed through home educating. Furthermore, they are both educated, intelligent, working, independent young people, busy about their lives, like pretty well all of the others they grew up home educating with.
Our eldest has just completed a Masters Degree (Distinction), whilst working and running her own business (all through Lockdowns), after having a complete career change because of Covid. Our youngest also changing track, now working in a garden centre after deciding that being Manager of a shop in a renowned retail chain was not for her. She could not reconcile her distaste for selling polluting mountains of tat wrapped in plastic, and is looking towards a greener career.
Both have developed the skills of flexibility and adaptability needed in today’s working world and continue to grow and extend themselves. And their PR skills are exemplary – they are not social misfits as some fear that home educators will become. There have of course been many ups and downs on their journeys – as in all life journeys wherever you are educated. But I think home educating; by achieving what they needed through diverse approaches helped develop an attitude to life that showed them that; whatever isn’t working in life you can probably change even though that might not be easy, but you can find the courage to do it anyway.
And that’s what I would say to any new home educating parent reading this, or anyone considering doing it; that home educating is not always easy (school’s not always easy either) but if you can screw up the courage to do it anyway the rewards are immense. And no, you won’t ruin the children.