Let’s face it, when they’re young, we’ve all had our worries. Will this temperamental, wild, unpredictable little creature ever turn into the confident and competent adult we hope they will one day become, able to adapt to the vagaries of the world they find themselves in? I don’t think this is restricted to home education – every parent wonders from time to time – but if you’ve chosen school, it feels like you can share some of the responsibility with the system that has them from 9am-3pm. With home education it’s all on you.
Every parent who chooses home education does so for different reasons, but at heart it is because they believe it is better for their child than the alternatives, whatever they are. Sometimes that’s after a school experience has not worked out well and it is – or feels like – a last resort; sometimes it’s a choice based on a desire for a more flexible, free, individualised, family and community based life for your children.
Fundamentally, I believe home education always has the potential to improve on a school experience. Anything school can provide – peers, experienced teachers, resources, group activities – is possible to find in other circumstances, targeted to what is important and right for your child, if you have the time and resources to seek it out. That’s a big if, of course, and the convenient package a school provides is the right choice for many a child and family. Meanwhile, home education offers something fundamentally different – not necessarily better or worse, but different – in part because you are stepping outside of the norm and making the choices that fit your child and your family.
Those of us who choose a different path – not because we have to, but because we want to – are making an unusual choice for our children, and stepping outside the social norm is a brave thing to do. It comes with questions and uncertainty, and wondering if you’ve done the right thing is both normal and positive – we should be considering carefully what’s best for our individual children, given our individual family and circumstances. There is no One True Answer to that, and the answer might change – there may come a time when school is right, and there may be a time when home and family is right.
While this is no doubt a decision made alongside your children – more so the older they get – ultimately as the adults the final call is ours. It is a parent’s duty, both legally and morally, to ensure their child receives a suitable education, and to decide what that means and how it will happen. It’s good to know what they think about it, though.
With that in mind, Miss 14 had an English assignment recently, and I asked her permission to share it with you all.
Is Home Education best for your child? Is school actually harming their career prospects?
Recently there’s been a great deal of interest and controversy over a simple statement – “Home Education offers the best possible preparation for the opportunities and challenges of adult life”. This statement has sparked Twitter feuds, and Facebook frenzies, but why? It’s an interesting idea, challenging what many people think – could Home Education actually prepare your child for their later life better than school? Of course, not everyone can Home Educate, but is it better to do so if you can? Personally, I agree with this statement, but why?
To start with, Home Education allows more flexibility in the schedule, allowing for the opportunity to gain many, varied experiences. This gives Home Educated children and teens more experiences to draw upon while in a work environment, potentially to solve problems or deal with challenges. This can make them better at their job, leading to more likelihood of a promotion, or a wider range of other opportunities.
Furthermore, Home Educated children and teens usually have a wider range of subject choice, and can choose to focus on what they like or are good at. This gives them better knowledge of the subjects they wish to pursue, which not only lets them gain higher marks and the opportunity for higher education, it also gives them an edge in the work environment as they have more knowledge.
Home Educated children and teens also have the opportunity to relate to a wider variety of people, especially in age, rather than just being with a group of their peers like school children. As in a work environment they would have to be able to relate to a variety of ages, this gives them a great deal of practice for their working life, and could even mean that it is easier for them to establish a rapport with potential work colleagues or customers.
In addition, there are many life skills to be garnered through Home Education. The first of these skills is good motivation and initiative, making you seem more attractive and hireable. After all, if you motivate yourself the company doesn’t have to. Initiative can also make you better at solving problems, and overcoming challenges, which makes you more likely to succeed in a work environment.
Another life skill that is taught through Home Education is independent work and study, as there is often less of a coddling support system than in schools, giving students more opportunity to practice these skills. Independent study is important for higher qualifications, which can give you the edge in a job interview. On the other hand, independent work is important for the entry into the working world, as employers value the ability to work independently.
A final thing that benefits Home Educators is confidence. Because there is less stress and peer pressure in the Home Educating environment, Home Educated children and teens are more likely to have high confidence. Dr Stephanie Ray, a leading child psychologist, says that, on average, Home Schooled teenagers are 47% more confident than their public schooled peers. This gives Home Educators a significant advantage, both in interviews for higher level education, such as university, and in job interviews. Who would you pick, someone who has confidence in their abilities, or someone who can’t even look you in the eye? 93% of employers say they would pick the confident one, if all other qualifications were the same. Would you?
Overall, I would say that Home Education does offer the best possible preparation for adult life, as it allows students to garner additional knowledge and life skills. These are all very important qualities to become a hireable employee. Therefore, Home Education is the best preparation possible.
What do you think? What do you see as the benefits to home educating to set your children up for adult life? Why did you make this choice?