Have had several conversations about education recently, in relation to parents having to ‘home school’ and take the place of the ‘teacher’ while working from home.
I was a home educator, (not by choice, that’s a long story of neglect in not providing support to a child with autism, by the Labour run LA and Labour run Holyrood a few years ago, all about £’s but they did send £1.5BILLION BACK to Westminster at the same time!) and yes it is a whole new way of thinking, not handing your child over to the state to be spoon fed what someone else decides they should know, or not.
School is great for some kids, not so great for others. The present situation lends itself to revisiting how Scotland educates their young people. What form should it take? Who is it for, what do children need to know? Children are natural learners. With the internet, interactive learning is a brilliant resource, and in can be geared to the ‘age, aptitude and ability’ of the child, a requirement of what the schools should be providing.
School is not compulsory, ( nor is homework, shhh!) education is however, up to age 16. That can take many forms, and with good guidance and a bit of imagination, children can thrive and excel at what interests them, the tools are there, like never before, and though it is by no means easy for parents, for some no doubt impossible due to circumstances, home education is a brilliant way to allow for self led, as well as guided learning ( a child would be lucky to have 5mins of one-to-one time with their school teacher in a week).
A bit of imagination, spending an hour a day if that, giving children the freedom of finding out for themselves their strengths, more autonomous learning with good guidance is to be welcomed.
We spent lots of quality time learning about the periodic table, interactive subjects online, my son taught himself to speak Japanese, he is fluent and does some translation now, drama, writing classes, all part of the social engagement and interactions, which most kids crave, has had a positive outcome, when school was such a nightmare for my son. It was also an education for me, school in England was about crowd control, factory fodder, very little else quite frankly. ‘Which factory do you want to work at?’ Literally.
Children learn by play, they are quite often visual learners, they all learn differently though. One size fits all is not good enough. The state can only do so much, parents are responsible for their childs eduaction, even more so right now, they need all the support they can get to enable them to have confidence in facilitating their kids to learn and interact outside of the school classroom. Education does not stop at the school gates, in some cases it starts there.
Here is Ken Robinson, educationalist, we spent many hours learning from TEDtalks, a brilliant resource.
I also discovered this recently, for any parents out there struggling to find exciting sites to share with their children re interactive learning, it’s brilliant, wish I had more spare time for it myself.
Lastly, anyone home educating, by choice or not this is an excellent site, specific to Scotland. http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/
Footnote: Over its two Holyrood administrations from 1999, Labour had managed to under-spend the Scottish block grant to the collective tune of £1.5bn – money which was returned to the Treasury at Westminster because, incredibly, Donald Dewar, Henry McLeish and Jack McConnell just couldn’t think of anything to spend it on.