A close friend of mine is considering home educating one of her five children as he has been struggling at school. As I have encouraged her that she can do it, and calmed her many fears, I have been able to reflect upon how very dependent we are on the system to educate our children. This lady is highly educated, yet she doubts her ability to educate her nine year old son!
The experience has reminded me of the huge divide there is between those with kids in the school system, and the rest of us. It really is a total paradigm shift. After over eight years of home educating I now know that terms like "behind" and "failure" are only useful in a classroom setting. Just as I know the sun will rise, I know that my children are just where they need to be, and I am able to totally ignore the guidelines of the education department, and some members of my family and society at large, who would think that my children are "behind" in some areas, and that "they should be able to ..." They do not measure success the way that I, and most homeschool families do. My children are thriving, and have their self esteem intact as they are not forced to compare themselves with other children their age on a daily basis. I fully remember feeling as she does, and asking myself all those questions. Am I capable, what about maths, and university entrance, will they fall behind, and on and on, and on.
Attempting deschool a someone in a few phone calls and emails is a tough ask! She is not closed off to my opinions, which I know must sound strange and perhaps even slightly radical. I can imagine the confusion of being advised to allow your child seemingly do nothing for a few months when you have been told he is struggling at school! Being told that the final year of school is irrelevant to getting a place at university must come as a shock after a lifetime of being told how crucial it is.
I will continue to challenge her beliefs, and encourage her to question why it is that the education department's standards are her yard stick of success, and why she feels incapable when all evidence points to her competence. And I will continue to be thankful that I am able to see the world through the lens of home education.