The question of a suitable education.

The question of what constitutes a “suitable education” rumbles on. Perhaps it should as it is a question that needs some discernment, especially when we see so many children failed by schools these days both academically and personally. It’s not just that children are leaving school with poor academic ability (regardless of exam results quite often) but that they are not able to think logically or take initiative without being pushed or led.

If I was to answer the question on what constitutes suitable education I would have to say what it is that I believe makes home education so much more suitable for my children than a school one.

I am home educating my children to ensure they can live and learn in an environment where they are safe and loved and truly respected. They are first and foremost part of a family. From there they can learn to be part of a community and a wider society. No child of mine has suffered assault, verbal or physical abuse since being home educated. I cannot say the same of those who were in school.

My three younger children (7,5, 3) have not been exposed to foul language, aggressive language or retelling of “adult” television programmes – unlike those who went to school. (by “adult” I mean those crass soaps that have such horrible story lines and yet parents allow their 4-6 yr olds to watch for some unearthly reason).

There is silence when they need to have it for learning. Impossible at any school I have ever set foot in.

Their health needs have been met. (Schools have a pretty shocking record on this one).

Being part of a home education group that is mixed age means they have role models to look up to, other adults to learn with and younger children to care for and role model for. This enhances their social skills and maturity as well as morals in their treatment and respect of others. Having more responsibility also naturally enhances self esteem as well as verbal skills.

For example my 5yr old sat with my 3yr old today to do a game about counting ducks.

So far this suitable education hasn’t mentioned a single academic subject. “What about science?” someone will bellow.

Well yes, we learn that, but more importantly they are learning what commitment in marriage and friendship is about. They see motherhood and fatherhood as positive things not something to be dreaded or treated as second rate to a “career”.  I do not want my children to imbue the horrible cultural view that “Career” and “money” are the pinnacle of success. I want them to learn to be good people who might just have a successful career.

Finally they are learning to learn so that we can do the academic things such as maths, Language Arts, languages, critical thinking, science, ….and so on.

As they get older (the younger ones) I think I am leaning more towards providing the Trivvium and Quadrivium that was the bastion of medieval education. That is was was once known as the Seven Liberal Arts:

Grammar, rhetoric and logic

Arithmetic, geometry, music(and art) and Astronomy(Cosmology)

This system developed by St Albert the Great was rooted in a view of the value of the human person and developed out of the rich soil of learning and life laid down by St Benedict of Nursia. He had set up ‘schools’ in his monasteries where boys (the girls went to his sister St Scholastica) from all social backgrounds mixed together and learned together. But they didn’t just learn reading, writing and arithmetic. They learned farming, animal care and how to look after themselves and others. Benedict’s “suitable education” was about learning respect for each person and finding value in all work.

I think if what the children learn gives them a grounding in all these areas they will know how to learn, how to discern learning and what they need to learn, and having never attended school they will hopefully not learn to hate learning.

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12 responses to “The question of a suitable education.

  1. you say I do not want my children to imbue the horrible cultural view that “Career” and “money” are the pinnacle of success.

    this is the measure that many people judge you by? how much money your making and what job you have fast car flash house! the greed is every where i think it has got worse over the last 5 years! children wanting so many things you watch them in shops wanting every toy in shop or young girls wanting the lastest clothes!

    I very much admire the way you are bringing your children up we need more of you!

    • The joy of EHE Peter as I am sure you’re aware as you do it yourself, if being able to pass on real values to our children.
      Perhaps even that they are loved- so the ‘fill the empty hole’ attitude that comes with greed should never be there.
      Keep plodding on 🙂

  2. Totally agree. We definitely need more of Mum6kids. Her blogging is great too! She’s been so supportive to me on my blog – I’m truly grateful.

    I’ve mentioned I’m reading ‘Weapons of Mass Instruction’ by John Taylor Gatto in my blog entry, and he would say that schools teach children not to be the best that they can be. Schools teach them to stay in their place as slaves at the bottom of the pyramid, never to reach up towards the stars. It’s terrible to think that society in general colludes in all this misery.

  3. it’s terrible to think that society in general colludes in all this misery.

    yes it does collude with this Danae it needs many people to feed its greed! the greed has got much worse over the last 5 years(it amazes me how people behave in supermarkets with they children to pushing and grabing everything!) and your right about school keeping people in their place.

    i read your blog to it is very good and you talk a lot of sense! if had not been for Badman i woudd never have found both of your blogs!

    you are both bringing your children up with the right values i admire you both it is nice to know that not every one is greedy/selfish! i have often though if i knock on peoples door to ask for say milk how many would give me some? i guess you 2 would but i dont think many would around here!

  4. Add in some Virtue Ethics and you have my ideal curriculum.

    • Must admit I wondered where it fitted in the liberal arts. I assumed in logic where Aristotle and Plato would go. Do you think that’s right? Or would they have made it separate like theology?

  5. take a look at what old Simon Webb has wrote on his blog about Peter 2day he got most of his facts wrong again one of them is that Peter does not have friend but this is not true Peter goes to scouts has frends around to our house and goes out with friends to! chess is just one of many things he does!

    • I’m sorry to hear that Peter. Goodness me why does he want to attack your son?
      I never did understand him all last year.
      In the end it doesn’t matter what he thinks does it? Does anyone take any notice of him?
      Who is he anyway? (I never could work that out either- unless he really was the only ‘friend’ Balls and Badman could find who had something to do with home education??)
      It matters that Peter is happy and settled and has friends.
      I would assume his parents have a better handle on that than a stranger.

  6. Today as I was in the dinning room as the smalls ate their lunch, this was their conversation.
    Ronan (singing): The sun is a mass of incandescent gas…
    Avila: No, no it isn’t Ronan, remember?
    Ronan: Oh yes, it actually plasma. Silly me!

    I don’t think they hate learning.

  7. Thanks for that mum6kids i think he wants to attack Peter becuase his friend Badman mentioned us to him about the chess and also do you remember Badman give chess as an example to that commitee Badman was cross that Peter wrote to him over his report.

    yuor right who is he anyway and it does not matter what he thinks your right no one take any notice of Webb

    Peter is very happy and has many friends

    thanks it just made me angry for a minute but am calm now

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