Saturday, January 06, 2007

Importance of Educational Diversity

From Arch Blog, we hear testimony of the importance of diversity in education, this time with regard to the opportunities that Home Education can afford for Autistic Spectrum children.

"A few years ago, I was asked to edit a book for and about families home educating children with ASDs. Having done a previous project with families who, by and large, were happily home educating through choice, I was stunned to meet so many people who had been driven out of the education system by its complete failure to accommodate their children’s needs and that had, in some cases, reduced their children to depressed, bullied, suicidal wrecks. It should be said that nobody regretted their decision to home educate, and the children had all made a full recovery, but it’s nonetheless dreadful that anyone should feel forced into a corner like that."

We really will lose something so precious if we relinquish the freedom to tailor the education we provide to our children. This of course applies to every situation, whatever the learning needs of a child, though it is perhaps easier to demonstrate the difficulties in offering a standard curriculum to children who have vastly different needs, such as AS or traveller kids.

If we are to take this problem of appropriate educational provision seriously, we need to maintain the freedom to think creatively. Some children will never pass GCSE maths, but if we aren't blind to opportunity, this needn't matter. A persistent truant can go with no qualifications to a university interview and be offered a lectureship in ecology, having spent his time pottering about looking at bugs and plants on building sites. A traveller child can go to a mosaic workshop and end up making a very satisfactory living, with no other qualifications at all, doing up expat bathrooms on the Cote d'Azur.

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