Saturday, January 12, 2008

THe old "I don't home educate but I know exactly how it should be done" conversation

A child I know who is HE educated is 10 and has the unformed writing of a 5
yr old, he is a bright boy,he simply doesn't have the practise because he hardly
ever writes!

How important is beautiful handwriting in adult life? How often do any of us write nowadays?

And if the answer is yes, it's important, then a person will want to learn when it is important.

My handwriting was terrible as a child, but one year I decided to enter a Post Office handwriting competition (back of a cereal packet or something) and learned calligraphy and GOT A CERTIFICATE. Nothing to do with school.

And if handwriting becomes important in adult life? You learn to write beautifully then.

He had finally learned to read, but he has missed hours of joy with all the
books that he has outgrown and missed because he couldn't access the code
earlier.He had to have someone read to him or a story tape which is not the

I know children who can read but prefer to be read to, children who don't yet read and are exploring it, running their fingers along the words as a parent reads, children who can't yet read but tell themselves the story, word perfectly, because they know it so well.

I am gloriously happy when I see a child learn to read, but I am also weirdly sad - because they can never see a picture with caption through just their own eyes again, because they will never again truly appreciate the shape qua shape of an A or an H - because interpreting it as a signifier always intervenes. I'm not saying I would stop a child reading, but saying it has to be done fast and young for the best value childhood is an unsubstantiated assertion.

I am also much much happier when I see a late-reading HE child than a late-reading schooled one. The schooled one has been a failure since the age of 5. School is a literate culture. HE needn't be.

There is just so much of oral-culture value that we lose when we become literate aged 5, whether ready or not, on the conveyor belt of broiler eduation. (some children are ready at 5 or earlier. fine. But don't assume it's right for everyone)

Maths needs to be every day, unless you are mathematically gifted, purely
for the practise in dealing with numbers.

formal sit down maths? pffft. Numeracy is a way of life, and it needn't involve pens, pencils, paper, workbooks or lesson plans. I actually find it hard to believe that any parent gets through a whole day with their children without doing heaps of age-appropriate maths aloud or through gesture or by using objects. But legislating for it?

And if there's a day when noone happens to have mentioned anything to do with maths, that would be a disaster?!

IMO the 3rd most important thing to give a child ( after love and security)is a
good education.
I agree entirely. THat's why I have no intention of devolving my responsibility to educate my family onto overworked, underpaid teachers who are bullied and browbeaten by politicians and their cronies and who can never give a child the one-to-one personalised education their parent can.

Things need to be taught

Actually, you are wrong. Read some John Holt or other autonomous eduation literature and we'll talk again.

People are not buckets. Knowledge cannot be poured into them, however diligent the learner and however enthused and enthusing the pourer.

How is a child challenged?

define "challenge". a 2 year old learning to jump is challenged. They are frustrated. They might ask for help. they learn to jump, you don't teach them.

Skills like scan reading and note taking need to be taught.
Nonsense. The idea of teaching them in schools is relatively recent. anyone my age taught themself, when they needed the skills.

What do you do with the lazy child who doesn't want to make an effort?

Define "lazy".

And... if a child is in charge of their own mind, their own learning, their own life, then they make an effort at what matters to them (and however mcuh you try to force children to learn, they'll only remember and understand and retain that which is important to them at that time).

Are you thinking that these naughty HE children will just lie around all the time?

Or is this the protestant work ethic/the devil makes work for idle hands meme?

Life is hard-everyone has to do things they don't want to
You only have to do things you don't want to if you accept other people trying to force you to do things you don't want to.

Really - I'd much rather raise children who DON'T think it's normal and acceptable to do something they hate, or to do something just because an authority figure has told them to. I'd much rather raise children who will pursue their happiness whole heartedly and never settle for doing things which make them unhappy because "life is hard".

Yuck.I hate that philosophy. It is so Dementor.

the real world is tough
Oh - that's ok. I beat my children every day just to prepare them for when they get mugged. (er... not really...)

No. The real world is what you make it.

The whole point about HE is that you can sidestep that whole schooling culture, that whole Doing To thing of the educational establishment, you can essentially bypass your way to the intellectual freedom most people only gain in adulthood and, weirdly enough, children revel in it, are happy, interested, motivated, self-directed.

this is maybe coming across quite aggressive, but I'm sharing the frustration of other posters, that someone who has no idea what HE is about either practically or philosophically is quite so sure of how it should be done.


Anonymous said...

I was commenting but it got larger than the post. LOL! Can I post at the Frog Pond?

Anonymous said...

of course! just link back


Anonymous said...

Hear, here

Carlotta said...

Well said, Emma. I completely understand your frustration too!

Carlotta said...

Is that you on Mumsnet?

Anonymous said...

Carlotta showed me the way here

The lady in question is driving me nuts in telling exactly how home ed should be done and then denying she is saying that!

the latest HE thread has certainly woken up the mumsnet board!

emma said...

yes, carlotta, it's me.

are you there too? :-)

Beth said...

I remember back when I was homeschooling feeling the same frustration. It was almost like if you taught your own kids you had to go above and beyond what was being taught in schools, yet that was the whole reason for ome schooling in the first place! To let the CHILD lead!! People don't understand child development and how it plays in to such things as reading and math, which is, again frustrating. It is hard enough dealing with judgmental attitudes, but IGNORANT judgemental attitudes are the worst!!
As far as handwriting, well, as we all know, Dr.'s are notorious for having the worst handwriting of any profession, and yet they are the most educated!