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Homeschool Vs School

The current debate over which method of schooling is best is ongoing between educators and parents who prefer the home-schooling option. Teachers and educators who are pro-school often state that school allows children the opportunity to socialise, work in groups and learn life skills that they would otherwise not be able to develop in a homeschool setting. However, homeschool advocates explain that for their children this is the best option because the teachers do not have the budget, time or understanding that their child needs. This isn’t necessarily a criticism of teachers but more a reason as to why one size does not fit or suit all BUT surely we already know this? This is why we have a SENco and additional needs, policies and procedures… Yet, it can be argued that these policies and procedures are too rigid and don’t always take into account the ‘big picture’.

Tommy is a 12 year old boy who has been bullied at school for as long as he can remember. His self-esteem is shattered and his excitement to go to school does not exist, understandably. Why would anyone force someone who is having a negative experience to carry on ‘pushing through’ when there are alternative solutions. Tommy used to love creating and making things in the kitchen and in his younger years would make science experiments to see what laws of physics he could test. This creative and curious mindset has been lost due to his negative experiences at school. The school has followed the procedures but they do not have the ability to stop the low-level every day bullying that really does grind a person down. This is why he is now homeschooled and is starting to enjoy science again. He is in a safe environment where he can explore and enjoy his education.

Nina is a 13 year old child who just can’t stand school, since she claims it’s boring and she doesn't like half of the subjects being taught. There is little room for movement in the curriculum for her to explore her true passion, fashion. Yet, when her parents took her out of school and attempted to provide her with a less ‘boring’ curriculum, she would not use this time well and would get distracted easily. Her parents had a frank conversation with her and she was feeling sad because she missed her friends at school. They then decided to put Nina back in school and she started to listen to the teachers and enjoy more of the lessons. Since then, Nina has blossomed and her teachers are all very pleased with her attitude and her progress. She is now applying to study fashion at university and is excited about her future.

Both of these scenarios show that children need to be listened to and given options that they can trial so they can see what best suits their needs. How can schools and parents offer options to students that help them achieve both socially and academically? How do you think education could and should change?

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