Monday, May 01, 2006

The Importance of Home Education

Just wrote this in Boris's comments in response to someone called McCarnie. Don't think I was as polite as I should have been, really. Ah well. Am off to do lines...must remember my manners.

re: home education, McCarnie wrote:

"if the parent is proficient in the subjects required by law in the National Curriculum, and is able to exhibit to the necessary authority( ies) , at the time of the necessary examinations that this is the case , it would , I am sure have a positive effect on a select amount of , but not all, children. There is always the experience of group living ,working and and playing; social skills all ; which are so important in a young person's education."

To regard the National Curriculum as the sole benchmark of a good education seems very peculiar to many home educators. Karl Popper, the incomparable proponent of the Open Society, was of the firm opinion that the only essential thing that a child must learn is to be able to read and write. Given the enormity of human knowledge out there today, does it really make sense to try to force the same body of knowledge into all our children? Such an aim neither conforms to the needs of the country, nor does it necessarily meet the requirements of educational law where it states that children must be educated according to their age, ability and aptitude.

As home educators, we have the opportunity to tailor learning opportunities to suit the abilities of our children in a way that a teacher with a classroom of 30 kids, constrained by the diktats of NC, cannot possibly hope to do. As a result, we often feel that it is the parents of schooled children who should actually be prosecuted for their failure to meet their responsibilies to educate their child according to the requirements of the law, though this is clearly a bit of a mind-shift for all those who are heavily invested in the school meme.

If the state were to insist that home educators were to follow the NC and take state exams, you can bet that we will start to put the argument for absence of parental responsibility in education, for such would indeed be the case.

And please, (trying not to sound exhausted), do not come up with the oldest canard around, ie: that home educated children lack for opportunities to socialise.

(From an HE parent whose family is alone for the first time in over three weeks...having spent a good proportion of that with approx 30 other HE families...and yes, just in case anyone is STILL worried...we are off again tomorrow with another 30 odd families on an orienteering course. Could that be good enough, yet?)


Anonymous said...

Brilliant argument except that it is worth indicating that it is not only home educating parents who dislike the National Curriculum. Parents who have their children schooled often don't like the NC or the GCSE and A level exams. They seek alternative methods (in addition to Home Ed) such as schools that have the Bac as their standard, education abroad, and opportunities outside the school system.


Jax said...

I read that thread, sighed at McCarnie's post, and decided it was pointless replying, his mind was already made up.

Good response from you though - might inform someone else!

Andrea said...

I'd aks him what more important group is there for childrne to learn to live with than their FAMILY?

Carlotta said...

I strongly agree, Andrea. In fact, we have recently seen much less of the kids and have become very aware that this does make a big difference in terms of how much we can communicate, and how much we want to communicate. There just is so little energy left when so much of it is taken up elsewhere, and this definitely does have an impoverishing effect upon our relationships.

I vividly remember how alienating school was in terms of my relationships with my parents, so am so glad that we can pull back as necessary and have quiet times to ourselves.

All of which is slightly ironic really, as both DS and DD have or are still spending time away with friends today, on a day when we had not planned any social trips!

Ah well...there will be time.