A little about us, the start of our journey and why?

This site will be a place to chronicle the journey of Home Educating my youngest daughter.

First of all let me start by saying that I was a secondary school teacher for almost 12 years. I have a good understanding of how the education system in the UK works. Personally I have seen it erode slowly, with more and more focus put on bureaucracy, new fangled ideas that have not been thought out well and don’t work), teacher autonomy being taken away so that in effect children are taught to test, and not truly educated.

They are not given the skills they need to equip them in society, and once they have left school find it hard to transfer what they have learnt into anything useful in the real world. And more shocking that subjects that allow a child to think for themselves; politics, sociology, citizenship are being pulled from what is offered at GCSE level.

Children are streamed into going via a vocational route or an academic route based on what they are predicted to gain at GCSE. This has nothing to do with the child’s wants or what subject they might love but for the simple fact it adds to the schools ranking and value added scores.

In essence education now is all about numbers. School are run like mini businesses. teachers have to meet targets, get bums on seat, teach to test and get results by any means necessary. This is not something I want for my children.

I want a holistic approach to education. I want my child to be seen and now be drowning in a class size of 30 plus and rising. Or for her to be taught to the middle because the teacher (although her lesson plan says she does, cannot differentiate lessons for the less able or gifted in the class, so she falls by the way side.

I don’t want her to be told to sit still, and stop asking questions until she is turned off, and no longer questions.

In the UK compulsory school age is 5 years old. However children start school at age 4 in reception year. Very few choose not to start their children in reception year or to Home educate, although in recent years it seems that the trend is changing.

Up until age 5 in nurseries (school and private) children are taught through the EYFS the Early Years Foundation Stage which is play based – yet now more focus is being given to making children school ready, not just with personal hygiene, but with literacy and numeracy. Which I think is ridiculous, especially when research has shown that it is more beneficial to leave formal learning to a much later stage. 7 years is quoted.

(will be back to post links)

I am a childminder (home day carer) and have to teach the EYFS to the children I care for. I have to be very inventive to make sure I am facilitating a child’s learning to make them school ready without doing so formally.

Schools are laden down with testing. Literacy and numeracy are pushed to the point that children are turned off. Reading time has now become a state of learning phonics instead of reading for it’s own sake and the enjoyment of books.

I bypassed reception year and have opted not to send my child to a traditional state run school. However she does attend an Emilia Reggio Kindergarten for 2 days per week. The kindergarten caters for children age 5-7 and also has provision for 7-11 year olds.

I have to pay. In my opinion the ethos that is delivered there should be government funded and be implemented in all primary schools – but enough about that for now, I will leave that for a future post.

It is my intention to send Lillia for as long as funds allow as the kindergarten is not free. She will only attend two days per week. It allows her to have some time develop a sense of self and be able to have an input in her own learning.

My son 12 – will be attending a free school which he is content to do, class sizes are small and the school is small as a whole, the school ethos is one I agree with, so we are playing it by ear whereby he has the option to be hoe educated if he wants to. – Watch this space.

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