This site will be a place to chronicle the journey of Home Educating my 2 youngest minions. One Primary level and one GCSE Level – for now.
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.
Children 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 is 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. Schools are run like mini businesses, teachers have to meet targets. Get bums on seats. 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 children to be seen and not be drowning in a class size of 30 plus and rising. Or for them 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 Children fall by the way side.
I don’t want them to be told to sit still and stop asking questions until they is turned off – and no longer question.
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 Lil’ Lady did attend an Emilia Reggio Kindergarten for 2 days per week for half a term The kindergarten catered for children age 5-7. It was a fee based setting. In my opinion the ethos and provision that was delivered there should have been 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 was to send Lil’ Lady for as long as funds allowed attending two days per week. To have some time to develop a sense of self and be able to have an input in her own learning. Hoever the longer she was there, the more i saw that she was in essence still in classroom environment and the curriculm and ethis of the particular centre was not so well though out .. so I removed her and continued as we always have done.
The boy has always been in mainstream school. At age 12 he attended a free school which he was content. As he was older and had been in the Education ystem he had some choice in what he wanted. Class sizes were small and the school ethos was one I agreed with. That was until it became evident that the schol did not deliver on what it promised. In fact it has become a failing school and in Manchester one of many academies and free schools that are now in special measures. Just before Christmas 2015 he ased to be taken out, and he has been Home Educated since.
He will be taking two IGCSE qualification in the summer of 2017; Maths and English Language, and we are follwing his interests.
I combine this with working part time as a childminder, as a single parent I need a flexible job and an income. This fits in perfectly for now.