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questions for home edders - genuine interest i promise

(16 Posts)
mummydoc Fri 22-Aug-08 10:27:01

i promise i am not trying to engage ina debate/argument aboutt he rights and wrongs of various methods of education , i am genuinely interested since joining a thread a while ago. so please could you satisfy my curiosity ( i am a very nosey person in rl!) If you HE for your whole "schooling" do you sit gcses or a levels ? have any of oyu exclusively HEed until your dc are 18 ? if so how did they cope when they went into the work place and realised that they cannot do things at their own pace or in their own time so to speak, what spurred this interest was on another thread the HEdder commented abotu beign able to go to places like museams or farms whenever they felt like it and it got me thinking that if oyu spent your whole fromative years with this kind of freedom how do you settle into the adult world ?? do youthink HEdded children become predominantly more creative adults and lean towards careers that allow similar freedoms to that which they experienced as a child ?? as i said i am not up for an argument just interested. thanks for your views on this

julienoshoes Fri 22-Aug-08 13:48:23

Hello mummydoc
Our children have not been home educated from the beginning unfortunately-but have all been out of school for the last seven years.

They were 13, 11 and 8 when they left and are now 21, 18 and 15.
So I do think I can answer from our perspective and experience.

"do you sit gcses or a levels?"

The answer for our children has been-if they want to.
Our eldest returned to FE college post 16 and did GCSEs and A levels-and did well academically and socially according to the tutors. The results he obtained were far far better than ever predicated by school, where his dyslexia was such a problem.
He is presently working, enjoying life and saving, intending to go to Uni as a mature student and come out with less debt than most.

Our middle child chose not to do any exams and instead followed her own very personalised education and she has had a very varied work and life experience, including sailing round the country for two long summers, helping to crew the boat and look after the family's young children. She has worked in retail, and for a company dealing in the latest technology with WAP mobile internet sites. She has done volunteer work including helping run workshops and helped to launch a new charity.
Aged 18 now, she has got the job she wanted with a national organisation and has moved away from home. She is having a wondergful time.

Our youngest is different again, she has chosen for the moment, not to do any GCSEs or Alevels. Instead she has started an OU course-results are good so far and she may choose to go and do her whole degree in this way, if other things in her life take off, or she may use the OU courses as evidence that she can work to the level required at a 'brick and mortar' university.

We know of others who have done qualifications via distance learning courses, others who have successfully returned to school as tens, and others who have got them selves apprenticeships on the basis of their experiences.

"if so how did they cope when they went into the work place and realised that they cannot do things at their own pace or in their own time so to speak,"

This hasn't been a problem for any of them TBH.
All three have been involved in the real world all of the time, so know that folks have commitments that they are obliged to meet.

For instance dd2 has chosen to do a summer musical theatre school and has committed to getting herself up and organised, learning her words, fixing her costumes, preparing lunch for herself and getting there on time.
The final performance is tonigh. After that, she has had the option to join her sister at a fabulous festival this weekend and would have her ticket paid for, but she knows she has an OU assignment to get on top of and so is not going, choosing to honour her commitments instead. If she had chosen to go to the festival I would not have stopped her, these are her choices plain and simple. However she has chosen to do this course and so of course is committed to seeing it through.
Similarly, she is hoping to do a Tall Ships sailing experience and I have no doubt she will fit in very well, keeping up her obligations and duties-as she has done with the dance company she danced with, and the choir school she attended over a couple of Easter breaks.
Our youngsters are used to working with other people's timetables-when they have chosen to be involved.

The other two meet their commitments as well-they have chosen to do something and therefore have agreed to everything a job/volunteering position/course entails.

"if you spent your whole fromative years with this kind of freedom how do you settle into the adult world??"

Well so far for us, the answer is 'with no problem'.
They have the same options as I do as an adult. I can choose my life path and if I am not happy with something, I would change it. They have not been forced into anything for the last seven years or so and are very confident, happy, articulate young people, who are able to make choices and take on responsibilities with no problem.
All of their references bear this out.

"do youthink HEdded children become predominantly more creative adults and lean towards careers that allow similar freedoms to that which they experienced as a child ??"

I know of home educated young people personally on career paths of all sorts, of medicine/nursing and law-I know of computer technologists, of someone doing very well with the BBC, a research chemist, car mechanics, those who work for other national organisations, but I also know of those who are doing Circus Skills/sculpture/arts and others who are working for themselves and may well become the entrepreneurs of the future!

So in other words, I know of autonomously home educated young people in all types of work. The things that these young people seem to have in common are self confidence and the knowledge that learning can be life long and doesn't have to stop at 16/18/21. They are free to follow the path that interest them/meets their needs. They are young people who are a joy to be with.

julienoshoes Fri 22-Aug-08 13:53:19

Oh and of course the other thing I meant to mention is that as we are on a very limited buget to enable tem to be home educated, they have chosen to get themselves Saturday/part time jobs, to earn extra cash for the things they want to buy-and so again have been working to other people's pace and timetable in those situations.

The only difference from other young peoiple they have not had to do the getting up very day to go to school.

We have had a teen who went all the way through school and maybe it was just that his personality but I know that these three have been much easier teens to live with!

onwardandupward Fri 22-Aug-08 14:12:28

Hi mummydoc.

So many questions! What fun!

OK, here goes.

"If you HE for your whole "schooling" do you sit gcses or a levels?"

Some do. Some don't. Some people HE by using distance learning courses, and may well amass a portfolio of qualifications very similar to what you'd do in a school situation. Others follow a "school-at-home" model and ditto. It's very common for HEed children to do qualifications when they are ready rather than in that great wodge of 9/10 GCSEs all at once. Maybe maths at 12 and german at 14 etc etc. Some do the odd qualification here and there, following their current interests.

My experience of it so far (second-hand, since I don't have any children of the relevant age yet) is that people at the autonomously HEed end of the spectrum are not likely to say "I'm 14. Time to set off on my 9 GCSEs" and much more likely to say "I want to go to university to read Engineering. What qualifications do I need to have to do that? Now, how shall I get those qualifications? OU courses? local FE college? Go into school for the 6th form?", So instead of having 9 GCSEs and 5 ASs and 3 A levels, they'll find out what the qualification requirements are for the next thing they want to do, and then go after those qualifications rather than this thing that school have of reflecting the breadth of education in breadth of qualifications. The argument would be that there's not necessarily a need to have a qualification in English lit. to reflect your love of and understanding of English lit., it's just a piece of paper which proves to other people that you understand English lit. So if there's no moment when you need to prove that love and understanding, then there's not so much point in having the piece of paper.

"have any of oyu exclusively HEed until your dc are 18 ?" I haven't (yet wink )

"if so how did they cope when they went into the work place and realised that they cannot do things at their own pace or in their own time so to speak"

There are people on here with relevant experience who can answer this much better than me. I think, and hope, that autonomously HEed children (which is a subset of HEed children) would expect and demand freedom in adult life to pursue their dreams and goals, and have got well used to that through childhood. If pursuing those dreams meant being on a conventional 9-5 timetable, they'd be motivated to be on that timetable. But it's a funny question for me to answer since I've always had autonomy in the workplace, the ability to work at my own pace on my own agenda, as a central component of my working life. I couldn't work on someone else's agenda, and it's not something I'd aspire to for anyone else. My dream would be that everyone could find ways of making a living which also gave enormous job satisfaction, and that people would be creative in their efforts not to settle for less. (Coo. Still retaining elements of unrealistic idealism. Interesting.)

"Do youthink HEdded children become predominantly more creative adults and lean towards careers that allow similar freedoms to that which they experienced as a child ??" Very possible. Those careers do exist, after all

Just to put a slightly different slant on that question, I was watching the wonderful Jill Bolte Taylor just the other day (she did an astonishing TED talk, and I then watched her getting all loved up with Oprah on Oprah's Soul Series). She was a brain scientist who had a massive stroke which completely knocked out her left hemisphere, and she lived as an entirely right hemisphered person for a while. She was talking about how both left and right hemispheres do their thing in babyhood and then children all go into formal education, and the achievements of the left brain are what get rewarded - logic and reason and language and procedure and yada yada (I can say this, I'm really left-brain-o-centric, so I'm not being smug just aspirational), and our right brains get further and further removed from our active conscious state. And she talks about how wonderful it is to recapture the potential and joy and presence in the moment of the right hemisphere consciousness. Well, I think it possible that children who are NOT formally educated have a much better chance than the rest of us of retaining a conscious right-hemisphered presence, and living much happier lives because of it.

Now come on, that's got to spark a debate or six, even if not a one about whether HE is valid or not. wink

mummydoc Fri 22-Aug-08 14:12:39

thankyou fro your very informative answer, i had thought all along that most likely the children emerging from hedding probably had the life skills to get on well with whatever they chose to do so was lovely to hear of your dc all doing so well and clearly very happy - it is nice to use mumsnet for an informative exchange of ideas rather that an jumping off point for arguements - thanks again

onwardandupward Fri 22-Aug-08 14:12:59

[totally corss poted with Julienoshoes naturally. And both of us wrote essays for you!!!]

mummydoc Fri 22-Aug-08 14:20:18

do oyu htink the reduced need for structure within the day allows HEducated children to use their r hemisphere more ? some of it must be down to personality aswell - my DD1 just thrives on the structure and routine of school, ( cannot use the nurture arguement because i did not force any sort of routine on her a sa baby and toddler) she must have a vey dominant L hemisphere, my dd2 likes a much more fluid approach .

AbbeyA Fri 22-Aug-08 14:23:38

The question that I would like to ask, and is related in a way, is does anyone know of a HE child who now has DCs of their own? If so are they HEing or sending to school?
It is a genuine question-I don't know any one old enough to have got that far. I just wondered, because it is a huge commitment for a parent to make.

onwardandupward Fri 22-Aug-08 15:04:16

Hi again mummydoc. No, it's not so much to do with routine in my mind, this right hemisphere/left hemisphere prioritising. It's a completely half-baked idea based on half listening to Jill Bolte Taylor yesterday. So it needs to be treated with a pretty low level of seriousness, and I refuse to be held to any of these ideas tomorrow wink

My thought was more that school-type learning, school-type success, school-type qualifications (and then university success, learning, qualifications) tend to reward the kinds of things that the left hemisphere specialises in. Language-related and procedural thinking, thinking where past, present and future are important, the kinds of achievement all mixed up with the development of the ego (which, as Jill Bolte Taylor can tell us from personal experience, is an entirely left-hemisphere phenomenon. In fact, it's a peanut-sized bit of the left hemisphere, which stopped functioning entirely for her). And self-identification with the ego leads to so many emotional problems later on - the mystical wing of every major religion is all about transcending the ego one way or another. So ways of side-stepping the hefty development of egoic thinking seem to me to be something worth exploring in raising and educating small children. [disclaimer: I told you this was half baked. You are forbidden to take it too seriously!]

The whole thing of people needing to be forced to learn things for their own good - being forced to do things hurts us, and Jill BT talks about how, after her stroke, she simply didn't allow that circuitry of learning-through-suffering to reboot itself as before, because it was just too painful. Autonomy-respecting education and parenting side steps the school of hard knocks ways of learning, which hard wire pain into our expectation of how learning happens. When we aren't ready to learn something, or aren't interested, or feel under pressure, it hurts us to pursue it. I don't think that's good for us. This isn't a school vs HE matter, it's much more a question of how we interact with the children around us - teachers can be autonomy respecting just as parents can (look at Summerhill for an example ). I think the freedom to learn at your own pace without comparison with what a whole cohort of other people your age are doing might be of benefit to some children, perhaps particularly those who aren't being streamed into the top sets for everything. [did I mention the not-quite-cooked nature of these musings yet?]

It sounds as if I'm a Jill BT groupie, which I'm not, it's just that I was watching her yesterday so the gems from her experience are uppermost in my mind.

But yes, I guess what I'm driving at at the root of all this is that there might be aspects of school life in certain styles of schools which are inimical to the kind of spiritual development which I consider important for my family. My family. Not every family. Not preaching to anyone. Not saying other ways of living are wrong. Just that autonomous HE fits with the spiritual path of the people I love and live with at this time. [now, where's the mushy wishy washy emoticon?]

And Abbey - short answer - no. If you had asked 150 years ago, or even less, the answer might easily have been yes, because it was standard for the children of the upper middle classes and aristocracy not to go to school and not to send their children to school. Even in the 1960s (did I say this already?) my mother had friends at university who had been educated at home and that was absolutely normal and showed how classy the family was. Well, it was absolutely normal for the very classy. But for the new wave of non-rich people who HE, I don't personally know any of the ones old enough.

onwardandupward Fri 22-Aug-08 15:07:20

Ha! I just looked at my answer to Abbey and it reads as if I am an aristocrat. yes, I am in fact the queen in disguise. Ahem. (She, of course, is an example of a home educated person who then sent her children to school - which reflects how society had changed for the aristocracy between the 1930s and 1940s and the 1960s/1970s when her children were of the relevant age)

AbbeyA Fri 22-Aug-08 16:36:44

I suspect that there will be no one able to answer it yet-it will be an interesting one for the future.
HE today is very different from the HE of 150 yrs ago!
On the whole children tend to follow parents,e.g. those who went through private education want to do the same for their DCs.
Perhaps it will go full circle-they will work and employ tutors-nothing is static-as the example of the queen shows!

onwardandupward Fri 22-Aug-08 16:41:49

Well, actually, they must be out there, because Education Otherwise was founded as a support charity when HEers were having a hard time defending their freedoms against the State in 1977, so even if a HEed child was 5 then, they'd have a pretty good chance of having children between the ages of 5 adn 18 by now! It's just that I don't know any of them personally.

Home Educated adults aren't instantly recognisable by a big neon sign behind their heads. grin

AMumInScotland Fri 22-Aug-08 16:45:51

When I was at university I knew a young man who had been home educated, so he'd probably have turned 40 by now (same as me!) - but I didn't stay in touch so I have no idea whether he even had children, never mind HEd them. But I'd have thought there must be a number of people around that age who were HEd in the 70's who would be likely to have children of school age or even older now. They must be out there somewhere!

KayHarker Fri 22-Aug-08 16:52:04

Yes, I know a number of US HE-graduates who are HEing their children. I can think of one in particular who viewed it very much as an organic thing that would just happen, which I rather hope will happen with ours.

FILLYJONKhasayarnshopASBO Fri 22-Aug-08 20:23:24

I know 2 HE-grads who are HEing their own kids

and one more who plans to when she has kids

this is in the backwaters of the universe (cardiff) btw

powpow Fri 22-Aug-08 20:44:04

there is a woman who attends our local HE group who was HE all her life, and has a 2 year old.
as far as i know she isn't sending him to school.

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