In a break from tradition, today’s post is triggered by a guest on Daybreak this morning. It sparked some interest and has already caused a stream of differing opinions on Twitter.
In Scotland, one woman chooses to let her children stay at home rather than go to school, and they ‘learn’ the necessary subjects at home, such as maths, reading, or whatever they choose for that particular day. They don’t have any routine or schedule, the children wake up and go to bed when their parents do, then in the morning, the family get up, and choose what they want to do for the day. This is not an option in England – where children must by educated full-time by law, either at home or in school – the choice is only possible in Scotland; parents must provide suitable education by school or ‘other means’.
In order to learn mathematical skills, her daughter will go outside and ‘count stones’, or they play scrabble to build vocabulary. The mother doesn’t teach at home, or follow a set curriculum, they have a natural flow to their day. As a result, the children get to experience good, quality time with their parents, yet miss out on play time with many children. According to the daughter interviewed on Daybreak, they do interact with other children, mainly those they have met through the ‘unschooling’ community. Although she did add that there aren’t that many in their area.
Some may argue that by not sending these children to school, they will be lacking the necessary skills to prepare them for life, such as building confidence in dealing with other people, and interacting on many levels. Throughout life, we encounter many people, and school is perhaps the best place to start this. Some people are born confident, some have to build on that skill. What better place to do that than by social interaction in a school environment?
I’d love to know what you think – are these children missing out on important life-skills, or are the parents right to give their children the freedom of choice, and will this prepare them for the ‘real world’?