Let’s explore the alternative ways in which we can educate our children and discuss which have proved successful in the last few months.
To define home-schooling, visit https://www.gov.uk/home-education
Home-schooling is a dirty phrase to a lot of people. In the UK, it is misunderstood and often looked down-upon. I did not have much time for it right up until when we moved to from England to Canada, where a higher percentage educate their children this way. Having met a couple of families who home-school my interest was piqued and I learnt about the variety of ways this type of education is conducted. Grants are given, resources can be bought, on-line companies teach different subjects. You can even enrol your child in a course that is taught in a classroom for a term.
What is your opinion on home-schooling?
Now, in the summer of 2020 we are having to home-school our children. Mainstream schools have had to adapt and try different formats, google classroom, See saw, using the school website to name but a few. Home-schooling companies have opened up their learning resources for free and others are joining, BBC Bite size to name but one. In the last few months, it has been up to the parent to be proactive, set a routine and ensure their child does not stagnate.
My son loved school in Canada. He thrived in the learning atmosphere and socially flourished. However, when we returned to the UK, he was suddenly two school years behind his year group as in England, formal schooling is started two years earlier. Limited school resources and attention meant he did not receive the attention he so needed so he struggled to catch up. As he is an intelligent boy, it was very frustrating to witness the schooling system fail him.
I have since decided I do not agree with the traditional teaching methods here, the lack of flexibility and the amount and range of children in a class with one teacher. I would love to not send him to a traditional school but instead to an equivalent of Montessori or Steiner where the education is more child-led and captures their interest far more. Traditional schooling works for some but how can one teacher fit all? The child with any type of need suffers as there is not enough money to provide sufficient attention.
I now know people who school their children in a variety of ways. Some stick to the traditional schooling, some home-school, some world-school and some un-school. What are the latter two, I hear you ask.
World-schooling is for families who do not have a base. They travel the world and teach their children a mixture of ways, including on-line learning, believing that a student will receive the best education by experiencing the world around them.
Un-schooling is for those families who do not believe in sitting down and doing a maths lesson, for example. Lessons are more learner based. They believe that life will give children the skills they need.
How have you found this experience? As a nation that does not really agree with home-schooling, do you now have more respect for it? Have you figured out a good routine yet, decided on the best time of day for your child to concentrate on the dreaded fractions and when you should insert a fun cooking lesson or arts and crafts? I have realized that my child does not need to be at school for the whole day but could learn the skills he needs in a shorter amount of time, interspersed with other types of learning. If the government could so easily cancel GCSE’s, A levels and SATS, estimate grades instead on coursework, do we really need these stressful tests?
I know this is a controversial subject but two schooling worlds have now collided in this brave new society. Over the past few months I have embraced it, whilst also dealing with my work, my needs and my sanity! Glass of wine anyone?