The age of my children means I have a sort of respite in the exam world. The older three are aged 23, 21 and 19 while the younger ones are nearly 10, 8 and 5 and a half. So you see it’s a bit different for us.
Let’s take Josh. He went through the school system right to the end. He came out with 13 GCSEs grades A to C and two A’levels in English and Drama. He wants to be a paramedic. If he can’t do that, and it seems he can’t, he’ll be a nurse. Now you would think he would walk into a nursing degree thanks to his Open University points in Biology and health care as well as six years as a care assistant.He’s never been out of work since he was 18 apart from the time he was seriously ill while his type 1 diabetes was being dx and getting under control.
But those things don’t count, it seems, so he is now doing a Diploma (old NVQ 3) to get the right points in the right place. Thankfully his workplace are supportive.
Over the last few years I’ve seen many home ed articles and blogs saying that home educated children don’t need exams to get where they want to go and if they do they can do them later when the need arises. This may have been true some time ago, but I am increasingly worried that it is less true now.
If this was America where the universities have realised the high standard of homeschooled children and offer places based on portfolio work I would agree, we shouldn’t need exams. I did think that as the research piles up that shows home educated children are better educated over al,l that universities over here would follow suit. So far the only Brit Uni’s I know of who accept students based on what they have actually achieved, rather than on a tick box system set up with UCAS (the most pointless organisation under the sun), is the Open University and Oxford University. That doesn’t leave many options does it.
Neither Josh (school) nor Alex (school and then home ed) have ever been unemployed. They have both worked very hard and yet both are facing huge obstacles in their chosen career routes. Partly (with Alex at least) the broken economy is to blame, but I also think the bizarre lack of human contact plays a role. Everything must be done by a tick box read by a machine.
But there are no doors opening to easy careers for either of them. What about their schooled friends? Life is just as difficult for them. Ah well, a home ed parent and child might be tempted to say, if exams don’t help either what’s the point?
It seems very strange to me that instead of making collages more accessible for adults who wish to sit GCSEs or A’Levels, the system from this Government is actually shutting down access for adults wanting these exams.(It’s a money thing apparently – of course). IGCSE’s have never been available unless you pay a huge amount for them. (Thank God for credit cards when it comes to paying off exam and travel costs!)
I had thought for the younger three that I would put them through the American High school Diploma either via Seton, as we use their curricula anyway, or via St. Thomas Aquinas. Both are accredited. It’s interesting to see that Catholic Heritage has set up a non-accredited High School curriculum pointing out that quality homeschoolers don’t need accreditation
If we could move away from computers and robots deciding on who gets onto what course, we might have a chance over here. Bypassing the computer either for education or healthcare, seems beyond the capability of “real people” who hide behind the machine’s like stunted wizards of Oz.
But then perhaps the machines will work in our favour as time goes on. Just as more of us can access high quality American highschool diploma’s thanks to the internet and Skype, perhaps our children can access degrees in the future from American Universities who are willing and able to offer high quality degrees to those who are capable, rather than mediocre degrees to those whose boxes can be ticked by a robot.
I am keeping an eye on developments and of course will see how older home ed children fare in this country.