Thursday, 18 August 2005

Home Education

Our 15 year old daughter has been home educated since she was 11 as secondary school didn't work out for her. Strictly speaking we haven't sat down and educated her at home as she was very difficult and highly resistant. However, we have provided her an "education otherwise". This is the clause in the UK Education Act that allows anyone in the UK to educate at home.

Her education otherwise has been what we normally do as parents. We talk to each other, provided opportunities when the interest was there and generally supported her in whatever she wanted to do. Which sadly, on the whole, was very little! Until the last couple of years when she wanted to return to a classroom environment but not with her peers.

In the end, her education otherwise couldn't be so bad. She has just completed her first year of A levels - started when she was 14 through her own choice. Partly adult education and partly 'full time' college though both based in the same college.

Under her belt she now has a Grade A GCSE English, A level English Grade C and A level Media Studies Grade B; with full marks for her practical work. She is disappointed that she did not get higher grades and wants to re-sit the two papers that might take her Grades up to a B and an A. At this stage, her peers would be entering the second year of their GCSE courses. She will get her Maths GCSE grade next week when they come out.

The most important thing to me is that she is a happy and balanced person. It is sad that she keeps looking at her excellent grades with a "cup half empty" attitude instead of a cup half full.

School never gave her that desire to learn and to do well. It had crushed her and she was aware of the peer pressure of non-achieving. I'd like to think that we gave her the necessary drive but I don't think that is the case either. I think it has come from within her because she was no longer repressed by the formal education system and allowed to blossom in her own way. She was able to learn at the right time. In the end, she has studied for her exams through the education system but not with peers and so her education is different.

Daughter is able to work at a pace and level that suits her. She would not be described as gifted or particularly clever - just bright. I am so proud of her that she has pulled through some very difficult emotional years. As much as she has fought us, and still does on occasion, she acknowledges that we are not so bad after all. This evening, for which she had originally planned to be out celebrating with her mates from college, she actually said she was pleased to be home with us and felt she could finally celebrate. All her mates, including the cleverest ones, failed at least one subject and had mainly D, E and C grades. (Somewhat contradicting the 96% pass rate in the news.)

There is a lot to be said for home education and what it gives to a young person. Exams can be important but they are not the be all and end all. Home education can get results in terms of exams but it is the less tangible ones that are far better.

Original Comments:

Neutron said...
I think it is wonderful that you managed to do is something I always wanted to do too but never managed to organise the space for...maybe with my grandchildren..

Well done!
Thursday, August 18, 2005 10:22:00 PM
Mama Mouse said...
Home schooling really didn't exist as an option when I was raising my boys ... I wish it had. But even if you can't home school you CAN supplement their education in ways a school just can't and won't do!

Doris ... your kids are very fortunate to have you as a mother!!
Friday, August 19, 2005 2:34:00 AM
Mandy said...
I think it's great! I only wish I had the same opportunities when I was younger. I think many kids try to be mirror images of their friends, or the 'popular' people. There are far too many distractions at school.. or at least there were for me. I feel I wasn't given the 'push' or the opportunity to go further..

One to one tutoring is way better.
Friday, August 19, 2005 7:19:00 AM
Anji said...
Both of my boys have had problems with 'school', The youngest went back after six months, but the eldest didn't. He's managed to get good jobs based on his charm and personality. The system is not geared to those who can't, or won't fit in. Congratulations on the excellent results!
Friday, August 19, 2005 9:16:00 AM
doris said...
True enough that the school system is a system and doesn't work for everyone.

As parents we are actually our children's main source of education and there is so much that we do without realising which is why what we do at home with our kids (all of us) is so important. Just the talking, having books and the occasional activity can have an impact.

I can't say that we are virtuous parents who do wonderful stuff with our kids because on the whole they just get on. But sometimes we do make the effort.

We have our 11 year old son who we have recently deregistered from the school system in favour of home education. He will get the occasional bit of one to one but on the whole the aim is to help him to become a self-learner. The self-learning is often knocked out by the rigid school system, so that the kids only do what they are told when they are told. Our main task at the moment is to re-instate his ability to learn.
Friday, August 19, 2005 9:48:00 AM
anniebee said...
Good for you, and your daughter. My eldest son was labelled disruptive at playgroup(!), and has had trouble at school ever since. Only for being mouthy, nothing awful. Now he has had extremely good SAT's results and come top of his class for at least one thing, it will be interesting to see if attitudes change. Schools can't cope with kids who are at all different, and I wonder how many other kids end up labelled as special needs when they are bright or G&T's.
I wish homeschooling had been an option, but I'm ill and he lives with my parents.
Friday, August 19, 2005 5:19:00 PM
Cheryl said...
I still think that compared to you, I'd muck it right up - take a little credit!
Friday, August 19, 2005 6:09:00 PM
Milt Bogs said...
Certainly sounds like cup full rather than "half full" to me. As far as I'm concerned it's the parental support every time that matters most in a child's upbringing.
Saturday, August 20, 2005 2:18:00 AM
jane said...
Sounds as though you & hubby have done a good job with daughter. I think it's good she's challenging herself. She probably knows she can do better if she tries harder. Pat yourselves on the back Mr. and Mrs. Doris!
Saturday, August 20, 2005 7:27:00 AM
intoxik8 said...
I wish I'd been given that opportunity, I was a straight A student when I started secondary school, put into advanced classes etc. but from the 1st year onwards my grades just got worse and worse because I was all the time losing interest.

As for the A level grades, all the grades are actually worth is to get into the university you want, beyond that employers only seem to care whether you have a qualification and don't seem to care about which grade it was. I wasted 2 years on A levels and in the end didn't even need them to get into university.
Saturday, August 20, 2005 12:24:00 PM
Pookie65 said...
Your daughter is quite lucky to have the one-on-one time with regards to her education and her mom.

What ever became of that nasty little smoking situation?
Saturday, August 20, 2005 3:20:00 PM
Arc said...
I've been toying with the idea of homeschooling my daughter.

You make a great case in it's favor!
Sunday, August 21, 2005 2:48:00 AM
Karen said...
I think you are very brave It is good to hear you have put your daughters emotional wellbeing first rather than conforming to pressure - I worry about my daughters education all the time, she gets her GCSE results on Thursday - It is good to hear your daughter is doing so well.
Sunday, August 21, 2005 11:45:00 AM
decrepitoldfool said...
By schooling your daughter at home, you have probably forever crippled her in the putatively crucial ability to follow instructions and let others do her thinking for her. Worse, you've taught her to learn on her own, so she'll go on learning all her life. That will make her a difficult citizen to manage and control.

Tsk, tsk, tsk...

She is so lucky to have you! ;-)
Sunday, August 21, 2005 11:50:00 PM
Mike Hitchen said...
I think you did a marvellous job and have a great and realistic attitude.

There were a number of comments you made that made me say to myself, "thank heavens someone else feels that way."

All the best

Monday, August 22, 2005 1:27:00 PM

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