Saturday, 6 September 2014

Choosing home education

We have made the choice to educate Finley at home as opposed to sending him to school. As home education is still an uncommon choice, friends and relatives may ask: "what's wrong with school?"
This post is an attempt to try and answer this question.
We are very fortunate in the UK to have a choice to educate our children in the school system or "otherwise". And this is a real bonus when state schools are known to fail at educating children every year.
I think state school's failure comes from the misbelief that children do not want to learn. In fact, this is so engrained in our society that we expect children not to be interested in learning from the start. We sit them in rows and force feed them information we think they need. We give out stickers and praise them for every little achievement. Unknowingly, and despite the best intentions, we take away their love of learning.
To us, it is obvious that children do want to learn and have many varied interests. In the last months, Finn has been interested in musical instruments, dinosaurs, trains, bones, rockets, letters, and he is not stopping. He seems to want to learn about everything! We want to nurture and support his enthusiasm so that it stays with him all his life.
In school, children follow a curriculum. How can children enjoy learning if they do not have a say in what, when and how they learn? Schools have stolen the child's freedom to make any decisions about their learning. Naturally, children lose their natural love of learning when they are so completely out of control.
We all know that testing is detrimental to children's learning, and yet we still do it. We test, we grade, we compare. We put children in ability groups so that they end up believing that their value as a person is dictated by what group they are in. I am sure you can imagine what that does to a child's self-esteem.
Is it surprising that we want something better for our child? Ideally, Finley would go to a Montessori school where he would be respected as an individual and direct his own learning in a multi-age classroom. Unfortunately, these schools are too expensive for us.
We have chosen to educate Finn at home using a relaxed version of the Montessori method, which seems like a good fit for us already. As he grows, Finn will be able to decide whether he wants to go to school and we will support him whatever he chooses. For now, his education will consist of lots of outdoor activities, visits to museums, hands-on learning, building his independence and self-esteem, playdates with old and new friends, learning to build, garden, cook, fix things, realising his own projects,  discovering the arts, learning to love our world.
We want him to be eager to get up in the morning because life is beautiful, exciting and full of things waiting to be discovered. He doesn't have to be shut away in a classroom learning facts and figures he will soon forget; he can take part in life from the get go.


  1. thank you for sharing, Elsa! lena

    1. Nice to hear from you, dear Lena!

  2. Elsa! I don't know how I missed this post - but it is wonderful. I feel like you just said everything I've been thinking for the past few months. I wish we lived closer and could have play dates, but I am so glad to know you online!


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