I think HE is a good idea as long as the people doing it are educated
themselves enough to be able to teach, and self disciplined enough to ensure
their children learn sufficient life skills for their adult life.
Actually, I think it is a lot more important that parents should be prepared to FACILITATE than TEACH. People are not buckets - knowledge cannot be poured into them - people learn what they are interested in learning, whatever the best intentions of the teachers and the National Curriculum devisers.
Parents do not need to know everything about the life cycle of a newt themselves, but they need to be prepared to find out with their child, or help their child find out, if their child needs/wants to know (and I'm thinking: library for books on newts, a 10 second google fest, visit the zoo and meet the newt keeper, ditto at local nature reserve...)
Life skills for adult life - absolutely - that is the parents' responsibility, for HE parents just as for parents who send their children to school. (In fact, you could say that HE parents are taking that responsibility even more seriously, since they don't entrust it for 6 hours a day to a school teacher looking after a room full of children all at once)
I also feel that some children can be pushed into doing it when they would love
to be at school and as and when that happens, the childrens needs should come
first and they should be allowed to attend.
I agree 100%. If a child wants to go to school, they should certainly be allowed to try it (and to stop it if the whole asking-permission-to-go-to-the-toilet and waiting-for-teacher-to-spot-your-hand-is-up-before-you-talk behaviour code is too much to handle)
Also i know some dont allow/teach their children along the same lines of schools
and their children do not take gcse's etc, and i feel that is wrong as those
exams are vitally important for a good education/grounding for college/uni etc
and its all well and good the parents saying that qualifications dont mean that
much/are not necessary, but again they are making that decision for their child,
instead of giving them informed choices..
Teaching along the same lines as schools would be a pretty poor second to what is possible. I mean, truly, so much of what is done in schools is make work (like doing pages and pages of maths problems when you understood the principle 2 hours ago). And there's so much time wasting while little Dennis the Menace tears the classroom to bits and the teacher can't tell the other children what to get on with because (s)he's too busy dodging flying chair legs.
HE can be truly responsive to the child in a way that schooling cannot be. There can be a much more holistic approach, a much more flexible approach. Learning can take place anywhere, in all sorts of mediums.
GCSEs - how important? Honestly? School qualifications are not the be all and end all, partly because of grade inflation (25% get As at A level now. It just doesn't differentiate between the brightest students so the better universities pretty much assume anyone applying to them will have at least BBB at A level). And GCSEs are completely irrelevant as long as you've got A levels under your belt.That's for the university aspiring types.
For others - employers want maths and english GCSEs and really aren't that bothered about exactly what else.But it's not just GCSes and A levels is it? It's SATS every five minutes from the age of 7. Any of you with school age children know how stressful those are for children (and do they help them learn? No. They measure what they have learned, within a very narrow range. So naturally, the teachers teach them to be as good at possible at that narrow range of things, leaving little time for other learning in the classroom. They have to, to look after the school's position in the league tables). It's like pulling up potato plants every 2 days to see if they've grown potatoes yet. Doesn't give the plant much change to get its roots down and actually grow some blo*dy potatoes.