We will be expanding on this topic in the future of course, but this particular concern is a natural one to parents who are thinking about educating outside of a school. Every member of the family we have mentioned it to raises this with us. We have already done our homework and as of this moment we are convinced that Elsa will get a far richer social life outside of school than inside it.
Yes, in school, Elsa will be able to mix inside the closed walls of a classroom with 30 other children of the same age and ability. She may or may not be able to interact with them, it just depends on what is being taught at the time. Is that really a good representation of the way our social life works? I suppose if you want to work in a factory that might be a good way to go. At work, do you sit in a room with 30 other people of exactly the same age, all from similar backgrounds, or do you mix with people of all ages and experiences and from all walks of life?
In however many years it has been since we (that is human beings, not our family) started walking the earth and grunting to each other, we have learned skills and experience from our elders, not our peers. If you want to be a well-adjusted adult that can hold a meaningful conversation with someone old or young, rich or poor, black or white, English or foreign, then the best place to do that is not in a classroom full of children who are the same age as you and come from a similar background within a 6 mile radius.
Only time will tell if Elsa will get a richer social life outside of school than in it, but if I were a betting man, my money is on the home school.
Wall Street Journal – Teaching kids at home can be terrifying, but it’s sure to grow as families demand more choice
“I’m still unsure that the people best equipped to teach a 14-year-old boy how to be a man are other 14-year-old boys.”
I took a call from the head a Elsa’s school today after sending the de registration letter and I must say it was a really warm conversation. It was clear that the head was interested in our decision not just as an education professional, but on a human level too.
I outlined in more detail some of the reasons for our decision and we discussed them for a good 10 minutes. I explained that it is not the school or the teaching that is an issue, it’s more the education system as a whole. In no way did the head try and dissuade us from our decision and even told us that if they could provide us with any support, that they would do.
So, top marks for the head of our school, she is a credit to her profession.
Even though we had already decided to educate Elsa at home, actually sending her school a letter of de-registration was a really big deal. Just because we are not satisfied with the education system, it does not mean we are unhappy with the school which Elsa has been attending to this point.
Remember that teachers and head teachers are human beings trying to do a really rather important job with one hand tied around their back by the government. It can’t be easy for them being used as a political football, jumping through hoops and juggling the demands of pen pushers, parents and students.
Before we sent the letter, we (that is the grown ups) had a final chat to make sure we were 100% sure about what we were doing. I made sure that we focussed only on the disadvantages of educating at home to see if we would be swayed to change our decision. To be fair, it was hard to think of many disadvantages at all.
While discussing this I was mooching about on the TES Opinion Forum and I came across this post. It really was rather interesting, at some points funny, and actually helped reinforce my viewpoint that home education will simply be better for our our girls and our family.
Our position remained the same, we sent the letter tonight straight to the head, our home school journey has begun.