Thursday, 4 July 2013

School of thought

Yesterday I was preparing a class for a tutee, and came across a Home Education website.

I found myself conducting a thought experiment. Why not educate my children at home? I have a doctorate, speak several languages, have years of teaching experience at university level, tutor others already in my own home, could find ways to develop curricula for all the subjects I'd love my children to learn, like Mandarin.

I could join a network of home schoolers, all equally enlightened, and focused on the fascinating multiplicity of subjects children might like to study.

We could take GCSEs early, and perhaps go for iGCSEs, and then the International Baccalaureat.

My children would not need to spend hours of each day locked in a classroom, we would go to museums and art galleries, circus skills and dance classes.

They would become independent learners, and follow their dreams into adulthood, instead of being constantly deflected from their goals by pointless tasks, testing and discouragement.

My kids would not face years of bullying, and peer group anxiety, as their sexuality kicks in and they have to compete with their own hormones to try to take in any learning at all.

They would be well adjusted, join clubs and meet others that way, retain their curiosity and dedication through play, experiment and gentle (rather than humiliating) mistakes.

This morning, I asked my daughter whether she'd like to be educated at home.

She said no.

It's true. We'd probably kill each other. As we went through the school gate, another mum overheard us, and pricked up her ears. I listened to myself starting to rant at her about compromise, inequality, highly-educated mothers being patronized etc etc etc, and, as she backed away from me, remembered all over again that home schooling isn't the solution.

It's keeping alive all the wonderful things we imagine for our children — in ourselves.

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