So today I came across an article online that spoke about home education, in particular, home education in Doncaster. I have a few questions around the article…
We don’t speak about home education as much anymore however, our life is still very much built around our decision to home educate. For anyone joining us at this point, we have two teenage daughters in school and we home educate our 6-year-old boy and will be home educating our 6-week-old too. So our view on anything to do with education comes from our experience on both sides of the fence.
The article in discussion is ‘Doncaster Council call for more power after rise in number of kids being home schooled‘. You should probably read it and then come back to understand my questions surrounding it.
So onto my questions…
1. Why does this entire conversation lean towards the thinking that, if a family chooses home education it’s a bad thing?
Even the title suggests that the council need more power to ‘stop’ the rise, but why? Is the council basically saying that children can only learn in school and/or that parents simply aren’t responsible enough to deliver a sufficient education to their children?
Conisbrough Labour councillor Lani-Mae Ball described the 11% increase nationally in children being taught at home as a ‘national crisis’. Really? Like home educating families are some sort of rebels against ‘the system’. The article doesn’t make it clear, but maybe Lani-Mae means it in such a way that she realises the education system is failing and something needs to be done?
2. What’s the deal with the need to split the numbers into percentages based on backgrounds?
They sling out some numbers and percentages in the article towards gypsy community numbers. Basically, 95-ish children out of the 634 they know about that are being educated at home are from the travelling community. I’m not sure why this is relevant, only to maybe put a number to different reasons that are known for families home educating. The article includes ‘traveller culture’ as a reason given for home educating. They also mention whether there’s a link to how many children are from more deprived areas, whilst suggesting that’s likely the case, strangely no figures to back this up.
3. Is anyone going to suggest looking at how we can evolve the education system in schools, to make it something close to relevant to the world we actually live in?
Whilst throwing around a few numbers that are really anyone’s guess as to how accurate they are, there’s little to no mention that one of, and most likely the main reason for families choosing to home educate, is that the majority of the education system is massively out of touch with the world we live in and the lack of focus on children’s mental health.
They do mention three of the main reasons given, which they say are traveller culture, philosophy and dissatisfaction with school. So it’s third in their list, yet I’d bet the biggest reason. It’s also a loaded answer, this being the only mention hardly covers it.
4. This one is a little dig, I’ll be honest… Did the writer of this article go to school, there were several errors throughout. Maybe school isn’t the best option for EVERY person?
To make our position clear, we have two teenage girls in school, we’ve all but done it all in terms of schooling and we’re not 100% against school. School for some children is definitely the best way. Having said that, there’s certainly a lot that needs changing and introducing to make it even more beneficial for children who are suited to school. I mean let’s go the full way and make changes so it genuinely becomes the best option for all children to give them all the best chance at a happy and successful life, whatever that looks like for each individual child.
This isn’t to say that any or all of these children wouldn’t still flourish if they were home educated. Home education isn’t an anti-school protest, not for us. It’s just another way, a different experience that we want to explore with our family and we should be afforded that without any pre-judgement.
Is this article’s main concern around home education, child safety and a worry that vulnerable children won’t be taken under the radar and lost? If yes, then we’re on board, as should every adult, parent and human be. Child safety tops the list surely. But, this article doesn’t suggest that to me, it suggests that anyone not complying to the system’s rules is a problem and one they want to stop.
What do you think?
David and Donetta 🙂