Having moved into a new area I’m meeting new people and building new friendships which I’ve enjoyed. It’s also weird as your usual friends know your back story and you know theirs and there’s not much new to learn about each other. So it’s interesting to hear new personal histories, what others are up to and their lives like.
Inevitably the subject of home education comes up. And how much I expand on the subject depends on their initial reaction to it. But people are more aware of it since Lockdown and most have their own Lockdown stories to tell. Mostly the nightmare of doing ‘school-at-home which we know is completely different (blog here and here and here)
Some changed as a result and became home educators longer term having learnt more about it during school closures, and the differing styles and opportunities learning at home can offer. It became more evident to many that home educating isn’t school-at-home, it’s a completely different approach to learning and growing, often changing a lifestyle along with doing it.
At the time of the Lockdowns I really felt for parents having to do what was dictated to them by schools, forcing the kids to do tedious academic exercises that probably seemed totally pointless to the kids and they didn’t even have their friends around them to relieve the boredom. Most kids don’t see the point or purpose of doing much of what they do in school (me neither), for the sake of a future they can have no concept of.
And that’s perhaps the main advantage of home educating; that their learning is meaningful to them, often initiated by them and their interests arising from real everyday experiences and something they engage with and involve themselves in because it probably came about from something they have a personal interest in, not unrelated subject matter thrust upon them for the sake of exams they don’t understand. For example, their learning might start from something as simple as having built a Lego castle and led onto a history lesson about castles and conflicts, from there to simple politics, or broadened out into discussions about historical lifestyles, social history, involving research and skills essential to the progress of any child’s education.
People whose thinking is immersed in the school-at-home method of learning, where the child’s learning is always dictated by an adult will find that example of learning unimaginable or even downright scary. But it works.
There is a plethora of styles and approaches used by parents throughout the home educating community, which range from the completely autonomous, through a mixture of both autonomy and structure, across all subjects, to the more regimented and planned and timetabled approach that we’re more familiar with, always in line with children’s specific needs.
And it is very satisfying to relate to the new people I meet who are interested, now that we’ve moved beyond our home educating days ourselves and with what I’ve witnessed within the home educating community, that the outcome of all these varying and inspiring journeys is the same as those in school; intelligent, well educated, qualified, social and happy people who have moved successfully towards life beyond their school years.
So whether people did school, or home educated, they’ve still all arrived at the same place.
Fascinating, isn’t it!