Sunday, 24 June 2012

Why I won't home school

As time goes on, I am beginning to think more and more about school. Time seems to be going so fast and it's not long before we will have to start seriously thinking about pre-school, as opposed to day nurseries.

At the moment our child care works - it is delicately balanced, but providing everybody is where they should be and is not ill, it's OK. How on earth we are going to manage drop off and pick ups when V is at school everyday is a whole other post.

Where she will go to school is yet another series of musings, but one thing that I have heard people talking more and more about recently is home schooling. Each to their own but personally, I have discounted this idea.

For many reasons I want to go to work. I enjoy my work for the most part, I want to retain a bit of me and as V gets older and less dependent on me, I will need to have something to do!

There is also the financial side of things, we want V to have whatever she needs and as many opportunities as possible and me working helps with that without a doubt - so - home schooling will not be an option.

But having said that, and despite my worries about the fact that SOME (and I stress SOME!) teachers I have come across can't spell, even if I felt I could give up work and teach her at home, I really don't think it would be for us.

Excuse list?

The following are my reasons - it's up to the reader as to whether they are a list of excuses to justify my continuing to work - I don't think they are!

Also, I think it is important to say that my views are not evidence based, purely my own thoughts on the kind of things that are hard to judge on statistics alone.

Firstly, I think it's important to say that I would and could never hand over all aspects of my child's learning to a school. We will always teach V at home and give her access to a wide range of experiences but I also see school as one of these experiences.

There is so much more that you learn from school than in the actual lessons.

V goes to a day nursery for one day a week and LOVES it - she is a very sociable being and I honestly don't think it would be fair to keep her at home with just me.

Apart from the fact that she would miss being around others, what I taught her would be tainted with my views on everything. I want her to be able to meet a wide range of people and also make her own decisions about what she thinks about things.

Yes - she will probably hear my views at home (I don't keep them to myself!) but by being at school she will hear alternate views as well and I think this is so important.

Plus - she will be an only child so I feel it's doubly important that she mixes with a peer group.

I don't think that home schooling groups would give her the interaction she needs or give her access to a wide range of views and backgrounds.

Hold back?

I have also never considered that school will hold her back. At two, she already knows all her shapes and colours etc, counts to at least 20 and can just about recite the alphabet. She also asks questions like "why is the sky blue?" but I don't think she will be bored at school as there is stuff I can't teach her and am not arrogant enough to think that I can.

I honestly don't know why the sky is blue - is it light refraction? I think I said it was the reflection from the sea! I would have to teach myself a whole lot more before I could even consider teaching her!

If I felt that school was holding her back, then I would supplement all she was learning with more at home - but then I planned to do that anyway.  Schools aren't responsible for ALL children's learning, they are already under enough pressure. She will learn loads at home with me, like she does now.

Plus I am rubbish at maths! I got my O'level (a PROPER exam!) but there's no way I could teach it to her!

I do believe that there are things that I will HAVE to do at home though. I see graduates coming into my line of work who can't spell properly, or construct proper sentences (and they are supposed to be journalists!). I have long been worried about the standard of learning things like this in schools and if I feel she isn't being taught this properly, then I will do it myself!

And woe betide any communication sent home with a spelling mistake in it. The offending item will be swiftly returned and marked with red pen and possibly, depending on my tolerance levels at the time, "Must try harder" written at the bottom. Teachers are SO going to love me!

I believe that you need to be able to express yourself properly in this life. I can help her with written communication, but even though she goes to groups, and hopefully will still do a lot of out of school activities in the future, a school is a vital part of gaining interpersonal skills.

And if you see spelling mistakes in this post - well, then it's another reason for sending her to school!

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