A reader sent us an interesting article by Graham Moore about Homeschooling from the website The Day, which provides current affairs especially for teenagers. This is an extract…
…with first hand experience of how an education and the subsequent qualifications can help bring about a life of opportunity, how can I have come to the conclusion that bringing my kids out of school to educate them from home was the right thing to do? Fundamentally, the world has changed immeasurably since my youth. After almost 50 years of life I have realised that it is important to allow young people to start living their own life as soon as they can. It is important that they follow their heart by doing things they love and that matter to them.
I have four amazing children and after almost 17 years of being a parent, it is clear to me that each one of my kids is different and has their own paths to lead, in unique directions.
While it is my job to guide and nurture them it is not my job, nor that of anyone else, to tell them how they should live their lives. So both my wife and I felt that educating the children from home would improve their future opportunities.
One Christmas four years ago, my wife and I sat down with the kids and asked them to make a list of all the things they like about school. The list was long and impressive and at first I thought that my idea may prove pointless. However, when I asked them to make a list of all the things they dislike about school, I was shocked at how many insights they had about a range of issues, some of which I was completely unaware.
When I asked them if I could show them a way in which they could be educated but wouldn’t need to go to school any more, they listened in disbelief as we shared with them our vision for homeschooling. They were sold on the idea in a matter of seconds.
…But what was on their list? What did they tell me they disliked so much about school, given that they had many positive experiences too?
Harrison, the eldest, had a real problem with teachers as he felt they were hypocrites. He talked about them not allowing the students to eat in lessons whilst the teachers munched away happily on apples; about how the kids had to sit in silence in assembly but teachers talked freely when they wanted to; how the whole class got shouted at even though it was the same boys causing problems each time. He gave me endless examples like this, which I struggled to argue against.
Rosie talked about the dullness of lessons, topics and the manner in which they were taught. Some classes were good because they were interactive and the teacher was happy and positive — in these lessons they were challenged to get out of their comfort zones and engaged happily. She felt other lessons, too many of them, were static, boring and irrelevant while teachers were moody and rude to the class…
…So what is homeschool, or more accurately what is our version of homeschool?
There are many different styles of homeschool based on religion, disability, beliefs and more. Moving into our fourth year we have tried out all manner of ideas.
Some have worked and some haven’t — but as the family gets older they have all settled into a more individualised pattern of education.
First and foremost, our guiding principle is that education takes many forms, most of which can’t be assessed by sitting an exam. We see that education can occur from a conversation with a stranger at a bus stop, whilst going for a run through nearby fields, watching television, or through helping an elderly neighbour with her gardening. We understand that all these experiences make us who we are and that not everything we learn needs to be monitored and verified.
Secondly, we believe that life is short and that we have to make the most of the present moment. Whilst planning for the future is important and necessary we believe being happy today is more important. That is not to say that we go bungee jumping and sky-diving before breakfast, we just try and enjoy each day and what it brings.
Graham Moore is a co-founding director of humanutopia — a social enterprise that creates and runs inspirational programmes in schools across the country. Since 2004 humanutopia has worked with almost 200,000 young people and the courses are highly acclaimed and in wide demand. You can follow the work of humanutopia on twitter at @humanutopia.
More at: Homeschooling my four kids
We’ve haven’t really discussed homeschooling on the site but there are as many as 60,000 children estimated to being educated this way in the UK now. What do you think of it, in principle, and what do you make of the issues raised in Graham Moore’s article? Please let us know in the comments or on twitter…