For some, it’s scary to think about their children learning without schools or ‘proper’ teachers. Especially if that’s all you’re used to.
Getting your head round that idea is a problem for most home educating families when they start out.
Because parents mostly believe that in order to learn kids need the following:
- qualified teachers
- to be taught
- to be in classrooms, sitting still mostly
- to be told what to do, when to do it and how
- to follow a curriculum
- to learn in incremental stages
- to be tested regularly
- to learn through academics
But those who’ve been home educating a while are discovering that other ways of learning work just as well without any of this stuff in place. Successful home educated graduates are proof.
For example they’re finding out that, contrary to the points above:
- Qualified teachers can help children learn – granted. But equally there are plenty of other adults, parents being among them, who can also help children learn by being engaged with them, by answering their questions and encouraging more, by being interested, facilitating experiences and spending the time. Time that teachers don’t have.
- Anyway, children also learn without teaching, through the incidental activities they do, through conversations, explorations and investigations.
- Learning can take place anywhere. At any time, doing anything, however wriggly and unstill they are, without ever entering a classroom actually – given the right climate. And many are proving it now.
- And they don’t always require to be told what to do, when to do it and how, if at all!
- So therefore a curriculum isn’t always necessary. It’s just a useful tool which you can use or lose, depending on how you want to use it rather than have it use you!
- Some learning is built on understanding that’s gone before. some learning happens in a kind of non-structured patchwork that’s being proven to be equally successful. It depends which approach suits the child and family’s needs best. Stage- or grade-led learning is not the only approach that works. Or a guarantee of successful education.
- Testing IS NOT necessary. I repeat; testing is not necessary. It doesn’t advance the learner. It’s just another tool you can use or lose depending on your preference. (There’s a previous post which explains here)
- And there are all sorts of non-academic ways to learn; conversation, watching films or YouTube clips, experiential, practical and firsthand, trips, trial and error, field study. The more the learning experience ignites all the senses the firmer it will be established!
It takes a while to trust in this process. You have to open your mind, your eyes, and watch and learn how your children really are learning without any of the conventional requirements you might have thought were needed.
But trust this; there are thousands of home educated young people now proving this to be true!
(If you want to know more there’s a long chapter on learning approaches in my book ‘Learning Without School Home Education‘)