Tag Archive | qualification

I wanna break free…..

…Free from an idea that has plagued and held back children’s education for decades. The age old, out-dated idea that the more qualifications you force children to do the more educated they become.

And I want us to break free from that idea because it just doesn’t work like that. It doesn’t matter how many qualifications a kid has they are not worth anything unless they know how to apply themselves to living a life.

I also want the world to break free from the idea that the more qualifications you require of teachers the better their teaching will be. That doesn’t work either because grades don’t make good teachers; caring, empathetic and engaged people do.

Yet it said on the news that teachers are going to face tougher tests http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-20083249 in the hope of making better teachers.

What blinkered thinking!

Because the problem is that still focuses on an end result – grades – whether in teachers or kids. As if grades were the answer to everything. And as long as we think that we are going to train our teachers to train our kids for that end only.

But grades don’t make an education. EXPERIENCES do.

We don’t need teachers who’ve been drilled through grades themselves and therefore will drill kids to do the same. We need inspired teachers who can engender understanding in children of themselves and the world.

We don’t need teachers pumped full of facts who will then try and pump our kids full of facts to regurgitate on demand for test passing. We need people who will nurture a sense of care and responsibility in our children for self, others and the earth. Facts and figures and exam results are no good to anyone who doesn’t have a sense of care.

Care makes an educated person. Care of themselves. Care of how they relate to others. Care of the way in which they relate to the earth.

In fact, we need to break free of our idea of education as examination and see it as a caring nurturing of the young.

So don’t think you’ve got to make your home educated child do masses of exams in order to make them educated. Exams are just an end result and only prove what is true on ONE day. What makes them educated is their experiences. And how much they care about the way in which they use what they learn to make themselves a better person, improve their lives and make a contribution.

They will be far more educated if they can understand that than by educating for exams.

So that’s what I wanna break free from. Free from these antiquated ideas that were set up before the world could read or had the Web. And initiate a new way of thinking about the education of our kids and the training of our teachers.

A new way that’s based on an experience of care, not on an end result.

There’s more to education than academics…

  Don’t you just detest the snobbery surrounding academic qualifications! There’s far more to education than simple grades.

Thanks to people like those at the Edge foundation there’s a chance to acknowledge that. They have set their new date for VQDay, (Vocational Qualification Day) to celebrate the fact that there is side to education other than the academic, even though many schools would have us believe otherwise.

‘Vocational qualifications (VQs) have never been more important to the economy and the individual; they deliver the trained, talented employees businesses are crying out for and ensure young people have the skills needed to succeed in education and work’ they say on their website. And they’re absolutely right. We are sold academics in a package of superiority and school social climbing at the detriment of other valuable skills and the needs of the individual.

We need young people with skills not just bits of paper; academic qualification needs putting in perspective with that. Part of the reason that home educated children do so well is the fact that much of their learning life is spent on developing skills out and about in life before the bits of paper are added on, if at all. It’s a shame the children in schools are not given the same opportunity.

Check out the websites to see another side to the learning story.

More stupid fish…

We are going to be teaching more fish to climb trees. (See my recent post to get where I’m coming from).

That’s because the value of vocational qualifications is going to be discounted with another misguided policy from the government. (Read it here).

They are trying as ever to measure everyone by the same bench mark and make everyone squeeze into the same straightjacket when it couldn’t possibly work any more than it would work trying to get me in size six knickers!

This is because there’s one blindingly obvious point the government always chooses to overlook: ALL children are valuable. WHATEVER they can do. WHEREVER their strengths lie. Whatever their weaknesses. Whichever path they wish to follow and direction they want to take their life. Whatever their ability with academics.

But because of league table competition, which prostitutes our children’s learning experience, we are about to make the divide between the haves and the have-nots even greater.

We don’t need this…What we need is for new policies that focus on the children’s ongoing educational experience and personal development – as a priority – rather than focussing only on what we can ‘force’ these children into being by the end, for our personal adult incentives. Incentives like climbing league tables, social one-upmanship and materialism among them. What we need is for the league tables to be done away with all together and let word of mouth be the measure of schools.

The quality of the learning experience is what makes our children intelligent. Not the end result. Heavy academic education trashes even the academic gain for some because children are dulled in pursuit of it, whereas a more varied and experiential approach would have kept their interest in learning alive.

Blessings on all those brave parents who can see that, many of whom choose to home educate and maintain that varied and experiential approach in order to rescue their children from this very disaster.

What happens to home schooled kids?

But what’s going to happen to the children if they don’t go to school? What’s going to happen in the future, how are they ever going to get a job? That’s the burning question for parents considering home education and the one that we always used to get asked a lot.

Does it come as a surprise to learn that actually, they end up more or less in the same place as many of the children who do go to school?

We grew up with quite a range of children whilst we were home educating. And we were in contact with many more through various groups and networks. These increased in numbers enormously over the years ours were at home.

Their ages ranged from babies to teens. Our particular friends were between five and nine when we met them. The eldest are over twenty now. But they, and all the home educated kids I’ve heard about, have gone on to do a variety of things, quite normal things, which any child having been through school would have done.

Some went onto university after taking GCSEs and A Levels. They studied at home, often using distance course to help, and took exams as independent candidates in centres that cater for them. Some didn’t do these exams at home but went into sixth forms or Colleges of Further Education without difficulty. Some took alternative exams like BTECs or access qualifications and went onto university with those. Some didn’t do exams and opted not to go to uni but went into work or businesses.

So, as it turns out, what seemed to be a radical and extraordinary step for families at the outset still brought their children to the same outcome as their school going contemporaries. They just took a different path to get to the same place.

But it has never been a disadvantage not going to school. Because it’s a path that seemed to broaden their intellect, outlook, motivation and experience so much that the feedback from colleges, universities and employers seems to indicate that home schooled kids have qualities of character that somehow makes them stand out.

In this competitive employment market what better could you ask for?


practical and vocational qualification…

Logo of The Edge Foundation

There’s more to life than university. And although we’re investigating it here for our latest teen I’m no more hoodwinked into believing the propaganda that it is the only route to a successful and prosperous life than I’m hoodwinked into believing school is the only answer to an education. As a home educator we have proof that it’s not.

A few years ago we came across the Edge Foundation. http://www.edge.co.uk/home An organisation ‘dedicated to raising the status of practical and vocational learning’. Such an inspirational concept, we got involved and they used us as one of their ‘success stories’ which illustrate paths other than the purely academic.

The snobbery attached to the academic in favour of the vocational or practical can get me riled enough to rip up prospectuses in anger. There are far too many young people pushed forward into academic degrees simply because they have an aptitude for it, or make the school or government Stats look good, or probably more common; their parents want the status in their social circles. Or, also very common; they don’t know what else to do. What a reason for deciding a career! I think it’s more sad that young people leave school without ever having realised where their vocation lies than it is them leaving without qualification. It says something about schools’ failure to identify and develop children’s potential; to ‘lead them out’ as is the real meaning of education, rather than just fill them up with academics.

So it’s really good to know that there are organisations out there that herald and applaud the vocational qualification and practical skill. So much so they even hold a vocational qualification day. Here you’ll find the details of it for next year; www.vqday.org.uk

The world needs practical skills possibly even more than it needs academics. I wonder how long it will take for the academics to stop looking down on that fact, for the practical to be truly valued. And what an uninspiring place it will be if we have a society made up of people who have no true passion for what they do, who have never discovered their vocation. Maybe that’s why we have so many young people not bothered about having a job. Because it is vocation, and the sense of achievement, that truly motivates people to work.