Tag Archive | vocational learning

Home Education – from someone who knows….

Yay! She did it! So pleased…

You see, I enlisted the help of my lovely daughter to present a little film I scripted.

I’ve wanted to do one for ages. Just to help increase understanding of home education. To try and trample on those grimy myths, misconceptions and judgements from people who really don’t know anything about it, never have experienced it, yet are so quick to criticise.

And to allow the public to ‘meet’ a now-adult who was home educated in the virtual flesh. Because when thinking about home schooling folks only ever seem to think about children and seldom imagine they turn into ‘normal’, well-adjusted, working adults who contribute as much as anyone else.

See what you think.

Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eej9PxRw_P0

If you’ve got people in your life quick to judge, or you’re just thinking about home schooling your child and you want to ‘meet’ one perhaps you might find this helpful.

You can help too, by passing it on, ‘Liking’ and posting it on Facebook, or mums’ and parents’ networks regularly and extend understanding beyond the home education community.

Thank you!


Education – a matter of heart!

Valentine’s Day. It seemed a good day to say this again because it’s all about a HEARTfelt education and why happiness is so important to it…..

….But what’s happiness got to do with education?

Well, everything:

Unhappy children do not learn well. What’s worse is they begin to develop an unhappiness about learning itself. An unhappy association with learning can become a stumbling block that can carry on throughout all of a life.

To have that happen is a true impediment or handicap. And it is truly sad for it doesn’t have to be like that.

We all need to learn, grow, develop, and change constantly throughout our lives. Life throws at us constant challenges most of which require us to learn and change in some way, even if the tiniest ways. If we cannot do this comfortably, if we cannot do this learning and changing comfortably and happily, it sets us up for unhappiness on and off all through our lives.

For really that’s all education is despite schools having us think otherwise; it’s simply about learning and growing and changing. For all learning changes us a little as we assimilate new ideas and skills into our lives and let go of old ones. Education is as much about growing and changing as it is about academic learning. And it starts from the minute we are born (probably even before) to the minute we die. We learn and change throughout the whole of our lives.

So education and learning do not only start and end with school. A child learns enormous amounts before he even goes to school. He even learns one of the most complicated skills of all – the use of language through speech. And how many times have you heard people say that they learnt more when they left school than they did when they were there. We all certainly learn more of the valuable stuff outside of school – the stuff that gets us through our real lives.

Think about this for a minute. Dynamic thought isn’t it? The fact that education is taking place in our lives long before school years start and after we finish as well as during that time inside it. It’s so obvious really but many people never even think about it. And that pre and post school education takes place without teachers or classrooms, tests or curriculum or schedules, and even without being between the ages of four and sixteen.

Being comfortable with the idea of learning and changing throughout your life is one of the most important things that will make your life happy and successful. The two go hand in hand. For I don’t call an unhappy life a successful one however wealthy one becomes.

And to be happy with learning should be a crucial part of any education.

Education is actually the mainstay of our whole lives but the academic education that takes place in schools is the only one people tend to focus on and value. And sadly it is the one that seems to have the most devastating effect on all our learning after it and that is going so disastrously wrong for some children. And I believe the reason it’s going wrong has to do with one vital element; happiness.

It’s because education in schools is tending to make children unhappy with learning. In fact I would go so far as to say that it is making them unhappy in themselves, as well as with learning.

If our children are not happy in school they do not learn well. They do not realise their best potential. They do not have happy lives or begin to understand what will make their lives happy in the future. And that’s really important because our children are our future, both personally and globally.

I’m not interested in happiness because it’s all twee and rosy and unrealistic. I’m very, very realistic and down-to-earth. And realistically I know that happy people make a much better society than unhappy people. Because generally speaking happy people do not violate or abuse one another, they do not commit crimes or vandalise, destroy or disturb. Happy people feel good enough about themselves to care for one another, care for the community, their environment, the planet. This is why happiness is so important. Happy people make the world a better place in all respects, corny though it sounds. And happiness is a matter of the heart.

My heart, and the hearts of many other parents and some teachers too, tells me that education in schools is not working because, despite what schools tend to make us think, education is a matter of heart as much as it is of head. But education in schools has become only that – a matter of the head.

The only concern the educational system seems to have is children’s heads. Most particularly what they can stuff into them, without any regard for their hearts.

I’m not saying that all schools are unhappy places. What I am saying is that there seems to be an awful lot of unhappy, unwell, disheartened, unmotivated, academically failing, even suicidal children between the ages of four and eighteen.

What happened to these children I wonder? What happened to their hearts and their heads? For I bet they started as bright and happy toddlers, investigating everything, into everything, intrigued by everything, nosy and inquisitive and desperate to learn as all children are.

We watched it fade in our children. I’d already seen it fade in some of the children I taught in schools. I saw it in the boredom on their faces. I saw it in the resentment in their eyes. I see children who are humiliated and shamed by a curriculum that isn’t suited to them and staff bullying to teach it. I see children who are disruptive from not having their educational needs met. I see children who are withdrawn and depressed from not having their hearts attended to. I see children who are apathetic with lack of fulfilment. And I see children who truant from a system and environment that is totally inappropriate for them.

I see it in all these children who are having their heads stuffed without regard for their hearts.

It seems that what happens to children is that once their learning gets controlled by the politics of our current educational system they no longer receive the heartfelt education with which they started their lives.

You will probably have given your baby and child a heartfelt education when they were at home with you. You will have nurtured and taught and encouraged and developed skills within them without even realising, that will have suited their needs and their characters, their gifts and their strengths. You will have made them feel important and loved and valued. You will have done this simply by parenting them in an attentive and respectful way.

Then they go to school.

All of us all of our lives need, and have a right to, an education that is close to our hearts. That develops our heart’s desires as well as our heads. That starts from our individuality and builds on it. That values us as people for who we are and what we can do.

It is not really possible to achieve this with a tightly prescriptive National Curriculum which requires targets to be met or an institution with an agenda that has little to do with an individual and a lot to do with political popularity.

It is possible to do it through home educating though.

Education is essentially about people, the development of individual human beings, who should have their individualities respected. Not disregarded.

To enable this to happen for our own children we removed them from school, just so they could continue the type of education with which they started their lives, before they were totally and irrevocably switched off to learning for the rest of their lives like so many young people that I see.

During the time they were learning out of school we were forced to think very hard about education. For once our children’s education was no longer wrapped up in curriculum and tests and outcomes and strategies and exams, that someone else designed for some other need rather than those of our individuals, then we had to think what we wanted it to be without all that wrapping. We had to think what education really was, underneath all that.

We have learned and changed much throughout our children’s education. For as I’ve said education goes on throughout our lives, both ours as well as the children’s. What we learned most of all was that

education is for life – not just for schools.

 Now that our children – or young people as they have become – have been involved again with the education system, albeit higher education, I see that ugly agenda of politics and grade winning overtake the real important education. But being older – and wiser – they can manage it better.

Younger children can’t.

If you want to consider educating your children’s heart as well as their heads, if you want their education to be a happy one as well as an academic one, then think about home educating as the serious and successful option it is. And join the community of thousands of others who now believe that happiness has a lot to do with it.

Or fight for something better in schools.

Whichever path you choose, your children deserve it.

My book ‘Learning Without School’ has lots of information about home education starting with help in making the decision.

For a real life look at what it’s like in a home educating family try ‘A Funny Kind Of Education’ Listen to an extract here; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7PRuMTYP8E&feature=youtu.be 

Click on the My Books page for more…

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.

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.