At the start of last week, my 5 year-old son Ted and I began our homeschooling journey. While the pictures of my friend’s children in their new school uniforms go on Facebook I have been preparing to help Ted learn without school. Thankfully there are now lots of groups on the internet with many homeschooling parents who are really helpful. A couple of parents recommended a great book called ‘Learning without School’ by Ross Mountney. It’s not an advert for the book I just really enjoyed reading it and I wanted to relay what I feel I have taken from this book.
Learning without School is a practical handbook for those parents who want to educate their children at home. The book explains the advantages and disadvantages of choosing this route, how to begin your home educating journey, what you will need and how home schooling affects your child’s social skills and education. It even has a whole chapter on educating children with learning difficulties and special needs. It is an excellent book for those considering home education for their children.
The one idea that I took from this book was how we are always learning. Even in adult life we continue to grow and learn everyday. Our learning experience never ends but we seem to think that once we leave school that’s it. No more education. I feel the book tries to explain how school is a very one sided affair. School education does not take into account the fact that we are always taking in information and we all learn at different rates. When we go to school we have to learn one curriculum and if we don’t like to learn that curriculum or find it difficult or too easy we are then labelled as a problem student.
For me, school was never the best days of my life. I am dyslexic and I hated school. Now I realise that school did not cater for my educational needs. When I went to school I didn’t really tick the curriculum boxes and I always felt like a failure. After reading this book I realise that it’s not that I’m stupid but the curriculum didn’t allow for my capabilities. Sadly, leaving me with low self esteem and confidence issues.
The book I’ve read suggests it’s like walking into a dress shop and they only sell a size 16. We are all expected to fit into that size. It doesn’t take into account the fact that we all have different body sizes and shapes. We just have to get on with it and try our best. At the end of the day I always felt my best wasn’t good enough and that I should just throw myself on the educational scrapheap.
Personally, as a child and a young adult I would have much preferred to be home educated. Home Ed allows a child to explore what they like to learn and this in turn can help with self esteem and confidence. Children who are home educated are not confined to one curriculum. They are learning through play and experiencing life. Plus who says that learning needs to begin and end in the classroom. There are lots of practical life skills that need to be learnt.
As a parent I have realised that I have been a home educator since the day my son was born. I have wanted nothing more than my child to be happy and to grow into a well rounded individual who can help society in his own way. I feel that most parents want this for their children. So I am trying to help my child to become the person he needs to be. I hopefully have lead by example and showed him how to be grateful and polite. Thankfully I like to cook so I have tried to encourage him to eat a healthy diet and he has always been on shopping trips with my husband and I. He know that the washing must be done and the cleaning too. So I have let him help me with these tasks if he shows an interest.
Life experiences are an important part of our learning experiences and school education does not allow us to explore life. It puts us all under the same umbrella and expects excellence when not looking at all the individual needs of the children under the brolly. It is my belief every individual has come here to make a difference in the world. However big or small that difference might be. Now I realise that our current education system does not help people find their purpose.
I walked blindly from school into university because that was the current trend coming from our government. Personally I think Tony Blair was trying to keep unemployment down so he told all young people to go to university. Yes I have a degree but as I look back on that time I lack in confidence and courage to follow my purpose. I feel these days damaged me and I have had to work on a lot of issues from my past to get to where I am today. It’s taken a lot of nerve to start a blog and a YouTube channel. Therefore I feel I have come a long way from being a problem student.
My son is on the waiting list for the local schools and if a place becomes available we will put him into a school. However our home education journey will continue. When you become a parent you become a home educator. Until your child starts to do things for themselves you as a parent have to help them. I have now realised that education does not end when the school gate closes, it’s only the beginning.
School is just one tiny part of life and what’s important to me is my son;s happiness, health and well being. When you’re happy you learn and you love life. Learning without School has made me realise just how home education benefits children and how I’ve been a home educator from day one. It’s a brilliant book and one I will be recommending. Thank you Ross Mountney. Well worth a read.
Are you a home educator and do you now see a difference? Let me know in the comments below and please do not forget to like and follow me. Thank you. xxx