Friday, 25 February 2011

Reasons to home educate

There are lots of reasons to be cheerful.

Likely to be individual and personal to each individual, each person, each family.

One reason we home educate because of the parlous state of state education. Have you visited a school lately? Noisy, rude, ugly, decrepit, fully detestable, and that's only the buildings

And the fact that the denizens of two schools could not stop my eldest being bullied. Emotional abuse is emotional abuse, even if it's not in the domestic sphere.

And my youngest daughter's face when she emerged from school in the last few weeks before she left. The happy child I had known in primary school had been replaced by a miserable young person I hardly recognised.

In my opinion, the internet, books, museums, conversation and other people's knowledge could easily replace teachers' 'deposits' of information.

I'm not religious but I can see that other folks would wish to extend their deeply-held beliefs to their dearly beloved children.

Thinking back I know that, if I had followed my most submerged impulses, my children would never have marched into school. They would have educated themselves, with my enthusiastic encouragement, at home where opportunities for true education abound and out in the community where they would have become valued, integral parts of their society.

I didn't like other people's versions of anything and everything being fed to my children as if they were truth incarnate.

I wanted my daughters to be able to control their own bodies, at least enough to visit the toilet when necessary; not to be controlled by those very sad people who have a need to control others. It is a form of torture to deprive a human being of the right to perform bodily functions.

Our children are not necessarily possible recruits for the army. They do not have to be taught to drill like soldiers.

I hadn't encountered wise words of the likes of John Taylor Gatto before the children were 'sprung' from school. Some years after the deregistration, those words soothed, encouraged, incensed, and informed me. I shouted 'yes, yes!' to John Taylor Gatto. I leapt up from my seat as I realised the reality of his real experiences. His knowledge. Every student teacher, every politician, every policy maker should have a well-thumbed copy of Gatto next to his or her elbow.

I digress. Why should you home educate your children? To follow an individual and personal pattern. To give your child the very best of yourself, other people and the world. To filter your lifelong experiences to enrich the milk of their day to day knowledge. To boldly go wherever your child needs you to go, and wherever he or she needs to go.

Each child knows him or herself best. Each child has a destiny, a plan. Home education is the map which fully fits the child's journey.

And that's why we home educate.


  1. Very good question, Danae.

    We were long-term converts to Gatto and Holt who, despite all this, somehow found our daughter in the school system. It was what she wanted at the time. It suited her for a short while but it took some time for us to realize that it was no longer appropriate for her as she approached secondary school age.

    At which point we realized she had two mainstream choices - to go on facing the bullies who had become ever more prevalent as she got closer to the age of 11 or to enter an academic hothouse, where all the kids were intelligent but exhausted from constant pressure. Both choices were hellish.

    So we returned to our original viewpoint - which was that unschooling is by far the most effective way to learn. Our daughter had other ideas, however - as individuals do - and is now quite happily working through the particular exam curricula that interest her. So it's a halfway house, but one that suits our incredible individual daughter.

    Your final paragraph sums it up perfectly. With home education we can follow our fabulous daughter's own journey, rather than one circumscribed by league tables and targets. Aren't we lucky to have found it?

  2. 2nd attempt at a comment ;-)

    I'm not sure of my reasons for home educating my boy but I was certain, by the time he was 18 months old, that he wouldn't be going to school. I don't agree with a one size fits all education system or the way that parents are led to believe that there is no alternative to school, especially when the parents are ultimately responsible for their child's education.

    As it stands now, the main reason for me carrying on home educating, is to give my son the chance to develop into the person he is destined to be, with as little peer pressure as possible.

    He already suffers a certain amount of bullying from the neighbourhood kids, because he doesn't go to school, wear the latest 'in' clothing or have their pack mentality, but we're both perfectly happy with that. It used to bother him but he now just says they are idiots, who need to grow up.

    He's a polite, kind, 8 year old, who is perfectly happy playing with kids older and younger than himself, he mixes well with girls and when we're out and about will join in the play with kids he's never met before and is self confident enough to skip along the street singing and dancing. Basically he's kind, gentle, happy, self reliant and responsible. I don't doubt for one minute that if he'd been at school, he would be a completely different person.

  3. But I am Scaaaaared!
    Our local school is a little one. I honestly don't think there would be any bullying, which seems to have happened to so many HEs (ok that is a sweeping statement. But if it has not happened it is a concern)
    The school is a lovely building. Inside feels friendly. I know at least three of the seven teachers and believe that they are good people.
    The Curriculum for Excellence, in Scotland, should mean that there is more freedom to learn without pressures.

    And yet.............
    I think HE looks wonderful. I think the idea of one to one is, of course, superior to that of classroom teachings.
    But what if I don't give them enough?
    What if they do get bullied for being different? Whilst they probably wouldn't have in school?

    What if I am just being swayed because I have no fear of stepping away from the crowd and in fact embrace it at every opportunity. Is it my desire to Not folow the crowd that is pushing me to HE?

    But. Regardless of my desire not to be a sheep. HE makes sense to me.
    But is it Really better than the nice school up the road?

    Is it ok to say, without school my DD can go to Dancing, Karate, Music, Swimming classes and Brownies and not be exhausted because she has also had a long day at school?
    Am I choosing out of school activities over school?

    Good lord I am one confused cookie!