That is pretty much the response I get from most folks when I tell them how I want to raise my son. That includes well meaning neighbours, immediate family members and pretty much every one else in between ( practically the whole world in short).
So this is my response to all the critics, the cynics and the people who think I’m downright crazy for trying to ruin my son’s life.
Before that, a little premise to my current situation. As you’ve rightly gathered by now, I have a son and just like most parents, I love him to bits. He just turned 3 a few days ago and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for him, no mountain I wouldn’t climb or no battle I wouldn’t fight, just to show I love him. However my husband and I hold very different views on education and I for one want to give HEing a try. At the moment though it’s proving hard to convince hubby and our family and friends who are unwilling to consider new points of view and are stubbornly holding on to outdated views. I haven’t lost hope however.
To help you understand why I arrived at the conclusion that home educating maybe a better option than school education, I’ve come up with my top 3 reasons.
- I’ve been burned by the school system myself. I did my schooling in India were teachers are worshipped as gods, and marks/scores are paraded as trophies whether you are actually intelligent or not. School is a mission that is operated with military precision with little thought to making a child think creatively or differently. I went through this soul-drying experience that lasted 12 years and came out with average marks and huge anxiety problems that bother me to this day.
Save to say, I do not want my son to go through a tenth of what I went through if I can help it. Sure the eduction system in Britain is far less drilling than the Asian counterpart, but it would still mean agreeing to be tied to a system that allows little flexibility in terms of curriculum.
- Education is not the same as attending school. Let me explain further. School is an institution that allows no room for out of the box thinking. School is what I would call a top-down tier managed, linear, do-as-your-told structure that is just not child centred. Just like a prison if you will. Quite simply too many parents are agreeing to subject their children to substandard teaching when we could easily make the whole process of educating enjoyable and pleasant. School has long been considered something to be endured in order to gain a better life. I’m not sure I subscribe to that kind of thinking any longer. We are at a time where information is so easily accessible and knowledge can be gained outside of the confines of a school and may I add, without a certified teacher or curriculum. If you would like to know how Schooling is actually destroying children’s natural learning abilities, I would recommend John Taylor Gatto’s excellent book, Dumbing Us Down. It’s one of my favourite books on independent education and one that I wish every teacher would read for themselves. There has never been a better time for learning without confines and without classrooms. You can quite easily raise your child to be a doctor, astronaut, scientist, surgeon or anything they can dream of, better than a school can. So why settle for less. I want to take the road less trodden!
- Frankly if I can do something myself, I am not even going to get it from anyone or anywhere even if they claim to be an expert at it. Think of it as DIY education, no frills but no crap either. No bullying, public shaming by teachers, rote learning, studying just to get grades, etc. Yes to learning for no other reason than just to satisfy a curious mind, learning at one’s own pace, and nurturing self direction and independence in a child.
Instead of trusting a system that may or may not have caring and trained teachers, frankly I,as his mother, can do a far better job of teaching my son Myself. Like I’ve said earlier, never before has information been so easily accessible. With just a library membership and a laptop with Wifi, there is nothing I cannot learn myself … Or teach my son!
The nursery nonsense!
My son is not even school-age now, yet I’m being told all kinds of tosh in order to get me to enrol my now 3 year old in nursery! Most parents I know think that the sooner they put their kids in the education system, the better they will turn out. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but there is enough research to prove that Starting Earlier doesn’t mean Better. Sometimes I get so annoyed by the badgering that I could very well strangle the folks who speaks such rubbish from ignorance. I’m beginning to feel now that I may very well not get to HE my son like I had dreaming off since his birth. But that is not in any way changing my opinions of the coercive school system that is destroying kids world over. I understand that I’m fighting against an opinion that is too widely held to get any real support. The questions/advise i get are usually are along these lines.
- “He needs to be with kids his own age/ He needs to socialise”
- “How will he learn his abcs? other kids his age are miles ahead of him in terms of speech development” (does it look like i give a damn how your child is more perfect than mine?!. Please, spare me the BabyOlympics malarkey and the BabyEinstein competitions! I want my toddler to be a toddler)
- You are denying him his right. Every other child his age is in nursery. (Really?! is it so bad that I’m making a decision that is so different to yours. Deal with it. My kid will honestly be fine.)
- …and other tosh I cant be bothered to include!
Anyway for what it’s worth, these are my two pence on the why and how of one would choose HE when you can stick your child in the nearest school and make them someone else’s responsibility. If you have child in school, please understand that it is not my intention to put your choice or school education down. Quite simply, your life and your choice is none of my business. You may choose private school over a state school. Or choose grammer school over private school. Or think that England has the best state schools and not bother with anything really. I on the other hand, want/choose to Homeschool, because I CAN. I understand your concern for my child. If for any reason I feel my son is not getting the best out of Home education, I will be the first one to send him to school. Until then mainstream school will just be a back up option. And although I have very strong opinions about the coercive education system, I’m never going to tell you to take your child off school because he/she is unhappy/underperforming (Of the top of my head, almost ALL the kids I know in school are unhappy anyway unfortunately); so please respect my choice. My child is my responsibility after all. Not yours.
Happy 3rd Birthday to you My Son xx
I’m linking up this post with the lovely ladies who are hosting ‘This homeschooling life’ linky! Check it out for more homeschooling-inspiration