As I walk past the school on my way to an outing, I can’t help but notice that I am going in the opposite direction to everyone else. The parents and children all going in the same direction, speeding up as they look at their watches, desperate to get there on time.
Later, I pop to the shops and while I am there, I am asked almost every time why my child is not in school…. and I am struck by the feeling that I am doing something radical. Something so unusual and ‘out there’ that people are surprised by it and have cause to ask me about it. Every. Single. Day.
Except that this isn’t a radical step at all. This is normal life for me and my daughter. This is the day-to-day life for us and between 45,000 and 80,000 other people.
There is nothing radical about learning every day as we go about our business. There is nothing radical about choosing not to put my child into a class of 30 other children of differing needs and abilities, to be taught (and expected to learn) the same things at exactly the same time, for 6 hours a day.
And don’t get me started on the fact that that 6 hour day is probably taken up by just over 1.5 hours worth of actual learning per day (I love this blog on the subject).
Sure, to choose not to do what the majority does is unusual. Only up to 2% of children are educated in this way. However, we are not unusual people. We are ordinary people doing what works for our children in an ordinary way.
Home education is a valid choice. It is calm. It is gentle. It is sociable. It is fascinating. It is exciting and fun…. But it is not radical.