Home Schooling, Fad or functional?

As the education system continues to cause a loss of faith from parents there is a new growing sector of home schooling.  In the past home schooling was for the rich and famous and for kings and queens, with our own beloved Queen being home schooled, but now it would seem that anyone does it now and if things don’t change perhaps everyone.

Many of the famous “Super Stars” were home schooled for work schedule reasons, but again others for more personal reasons.  But what of the average family of home schooling, can they afford tutors?  Are they qualified?  Are they ruining their children’s lives merely experimenting on them like guinea pigs?

There is almost a mystery about the average home schooling family that provokes fear in many much like the boogeyman and in others an interest causing a flood of questions, most of which will be they same questions “how do they get socialised?” And “is that legal?” A thousand times over.  I have spoken to some home schoolers that have printed out a list of commonly asked questions and answers they then just hand over to help avoid another wasted hour of questioning.

Many countries around the world have been successful in making home schooling illegal, which is a debate that could swing backwards and forwards forever “doesn’t that infringe on a parent’s human rights?” Or “every child has the right to a proper education.”   Everyone having their own stance.  As for the UK it is currently legal, for now, however as its popularity increases so too does the fears “this doesn’t look good on our stats/the school is losing its funding/the county prides it’s education system, how does this look?”  Which in turn provokes more rational human rights arguments such as child abuse, poor education, terrorism etc.

There really does seem to be a broad spectrum of reasons why a family chooses to home school their children including: the child was bullied st school; religious reasons; lifestyle choices; peer pressure; distrust in the state education system.

I did a few month of research into the many claims surrounding home schooling such as “the education system is politically driven.” “the education system is regionally bias.”  “The education system is not about learning but purely memorising.”  “The education system is stats driven not in the interest of the child.” “The schools have a huge fail rate.” These seemed to be conspiracy driven reasoning at first but after lots of investigation it seemed for the most part many of these claims were true of sorts.

After a few years of meeting home schooled families I had met much of this broad spectrum of types and reasons.  Most of the parents seemed quite well-educated themselves and had done plenty of research before making their decisions to home school, not only that but they clearly weren’t loopy at all, in fact they were able to create an entire education curriculum up of their own, geared around the childs personal strengths and weaknesses.  They had a routine of extra curricular activities that far surpassed anything a school setting could give a child.  Most home scholling families were very aware of the need for socialising and gave their children plenty of opportunity to do so and in many cases the children had a far superior set of socialising skills which included a greater ability to interact with people of various age groups both up and down as well as their own age group, which school is unable to offer as children remain in their own age group for all of their schooling life.

Did this make me a pro-home schooler?  No.  Did it make me anti home schooling then? Not at all.  It allowed mr to realise 2 things “school wasn’t in every child’s best interests, just as home schooling wasn’t.”  And generally speaking “parents still knew what was best for their own children.”  There was the obvious few home schooling families that threw up some minor concerns because of a variety of reasons, but realistically if even 20% of children coming out of the state education system had negative experiences or a poor education that would still be a lot more numbers than the few home schooled children with an otherwise loving, although mislead, parent and unfortunately life is often a numbers game.

So what of home schooling’s future?  If the present is anything to go by which it usually is, home schooled children generally go on to be more successful as adults including higher grades at higher education, however because home schooling does have the air of mystery and bad press about it, it has a Nonconformist appearance and “do gooder” pressure groups keep putting political pressure on the government I would say that the first stage we will see will be that the government regulate the home schooling sector forcing the national curriculum on it with a OFSTED style conformity, the next stage will be to outlaw it completely using pilot beacon cases of failed home schooling.

Home schooling can not be an option for the majority of the  general public or the system will be strained, perhaps even collapse, so the little people know about it the better, the more people fear it the better “people fear what they don’t understand.”  This keeps the majority of children in a school system creating jobs, it keeps English stats competitive on the European and World grid and encourages parents back to work and paying taxes.  The economy needs things the way they are, a change in the wrong direction could put a strain on the economy and at these fragile times that is the last thing we need to deal with “a leak in the income.” And “If the country struggles we all struggle and sometimes people’s rights have to take a back seat or the greater good of Queen and country.” During this war on failing economy. 

If that is the case we need to improve the education system, restore faith to parents, protect children’s rights to receive a good education at a level relative to individual needs, without fear of bullying. Attract parents back to school as classroom assistants where they can assist and remove the us and them current system for the greater good of country and child.  After all “we believe the children are our future.” – Whitney Houston RIP

I leave you with this last thought: “If a parent went through an education system that was so empowering 20+ years ago surely they have been equipped with the ability to teach their own children to a higher standard than a current failing education system?”

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