Radical Unschooling

#100 Days of Home Ed…Day 35

Yesterday, we talked about the local authorities attempts to circumnavigate the law…to control our home education in a way that is not allowed. And I came close…too close…to explaining that law to you. But I was saving that for today…

The law itself is defined by Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 which states that:

The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable—

(1) to his age, ability and aptitude, and

(2) to any special educational needs he may have,

either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

That’s right…even IF you send your child to school, you the parent still have the DUTY to see that he receives an education suitable to age, ability, aptitude and special educational needs.

Can someone PLEASE tell me how that is actually possible in a classroom with thirty other children, where the teacher is mandated by law to teach only what the children need to pass a standardized test?

Age…maybe. But the father of child development psychology Jean Piaget himself did not believe that specific ages should be assigned to his stages development. That each child developed and hit those milestones at her own pace. And that it certainly what we have found with PanKwake. So assigning children to grades/years based solely upon when they were born is faulty in itself.

In fact, it is almost more relevant to note what the guidance says about the law…and what parents do NOT need to do… (the law itself is that one little bit that gives parents their rights and noteably DUTY to educate…the guidences are put out periodically by the government in England and Wales to as the word says…guide local authorities on how best to handle home education)….

The parent is not required to provide any particular type of education and is under no obligation to:

  • have premises equipped to any particular standard
  • have any specific qualifications
  • cover the same syllabus as any school
  • adopt the National Curriculum
  • make detailed plans in advance
  • observe school hours, days or terms
  • have a fixed time-table
  • give formal lessons
  • reproduce school type peer group socialization
  • match school, age-specific standards
  • produce examples of ‘work’ for inspection
  • seek permission to educate ‘otherwise’
  • take the initiative in informing the authority
  • have regular contact with the authority
  • meet with the authority. (Section 3 Paragraph 13 Education Act of 1996 – England)

Our obligation is strictly that…

  • Age
  • Ability
  • Aptitude
  • and Special Educational Needs. (soon to be Additional Learning Needs)

Admittedly, PanKwake’s education does not conform to the first…age. For some things like critical thinking, reasoning and debate, she far surpasses her ‘peers’. While in others like reading, she remains at the early years foundation stage.

But that is why the other three come into play. Not just for home education either, but to protect that precious education system. Because the truth is that ability is the key determinent even in the classroom. Some children simply will not grasp things as quickly or easily as others. It goes back to those segregated groups that I had when I was in school.

Aptitude is the key strength of home education. Schools today are too busy teaching what kids need to know to pass silly tests. Things that they may never use again in their whole lives. While wonderful options of the past like woodworking, cooking, sewing and many others are no longer available in secondary schools…and even music, art and physical education are given scant focus after Key Stage 1.

2013-10-31 17.07.08
PanKwake made this dress using an iPad app. Design & Technology, ICT and art all in one.
2013-10-31 17.18.50
I then had to make it for her Halloween costume. Perhaps we have a fashion designer in the making? Home ed gives us that freedom to explore the things we CAN do…our strengths.

 

 

For us and many other the ALN (Additional Learning Needs) though is the key. The truth is…that even if they wanted to, it would be prohibitively expensive to provide PanKwake with the INDIVIDUALIZED education that meets her ability, aptitude and ALN.

But maybe that is a good place to stop as tomorrow, I explain to you HOW this home education works…at least with PanKwake. WHY we can do what schools simply CANNOT.

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