Friday, September 21, 2007

Reasons to Consider Home Education #7

HE children might only be exposed to activities which interest their parents
Yes, an HE familiy would need to be careful to expose children to a wide range of activities and opportunities. It would certainly be possible to live in something of a bubble, and HE families should guard against that so child can discover their own interests.

I want my children to learn to compete against other children

I'd rather parents taught their children to compete against themselves than against other people. To strive to do their best, and to achieve all they are capable of rather than to beat Sally on a test.

There are HE children out there achieving the most astonishing things, which anyone competitive minded would regard as "winning", but they weren't necessarily competing against anyone else to get there. Maisie, Angus and Travers MacNeice spring to mind (published a best-selling biography called "The Lion Children" about their life on an African research station before they'd all hit teen-dom).

And there's nothing stopping a HE child engaging in competitive sports, and engaging seriously in them, if that's their thing. I know lots of parents do want their children to compete against other children, those just aren't my values.

You need to go to school to learn about teamwork

Heh - I think a half hour visit to HESFES or to any of the weekly home ed meets would explode that myth and the big difference is that HE children learnto cooperate with children of all ages, to help the little ones and accept help from the big ones, not everyone the same age. Much more what they'll find in adult life.

I want to reclaim my own life, which I can start to do when the kids go to

[what I didn't say in a public forum: so you thought having a child was a 5 year commitment????? Or 3 year, if you're starting with pre-school????? I know a mum who always says with that hint of self sacrifice under-ridden with deep pride at continuing to be useful that "being a parent is a life sentence"]

Yes, I can see that too. But I have to say that I see mums come to the end of maternity leave and go back to work with a sigh of relief just as their child starts to communicate, to have interests, to grow slowly into independence - just as things start to get a bit more interesting.

And similarly, children at 3 going off to preschool, or at 5 going off to school at just the age where they don't need the parents' undivided attention 24/7, but happily get on with their own thing for periods of time. The age where they just begin not to need constant supervision when playing with other children - it gets more and more fun to be around children as they grow, IMO, but most of us miss out lots of the god stuff.

It's seriously hard to complete a degree with a tiny baby in tow (I know people who've done it) but with a 5 year old or a 7 year old, you'd be able to do your coursework while they are busy colouring or writing stories or whatever, and you could probably even take them to the library with you as they got older (now what an educational experience that would be!) I know many lecturers who wouldn't mind having a child in their lectures in the slightest, so long as they weren't disruptive, and in fact I know a woman (single mum) in the unenlightened 1970s who used to take her toddler to lectures when the child care fell through, and have the little one doing colouring in a corner. The mum was the lecturer!

Also worth asking: why should it be the mum who is at home full time (when there are 2 parents). Many men LEAP at the chance to go part time or stay at home entirely for a few years, jumping out of the rat race with a great sigh of relief.

It's all just a question of finding ways to maximise a family's happiness, and if that involves school, then wahoo. But it needn't necessarily.

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