Why would you do both?

This question has been simmering at the back of my mind for some weeks, now. When Daisy and I started putting sounds in our Sounds Book, we took it with us to a few places, in order to show it off. On one of these occasions, a relation of mine took the opportunity to ask me about the home education – were we still planning to do it? I smiled, nodded towards the little book, and said, “We already are!” To which the person responded, “Yes, but I’d expect you to do that anyway.”

I was utterly bemused. Why? Why on earth would I send her to school, AND teach her myself? Either I will educate my kids, or someone else will – both is not an option. But of course, lots of people DO do both, and actually, I can remember her doing both when her kids were small. It seems like insanity, to me. And a little bit unreasonable – school is a pretty exhausting business, without parents adding to the pressure at home, surely?

I appear to be fundamentally abnormal, in terms of the types of middle-class parents that I would loosely consider to be my peers. I don’t want academic achievement at any cost. I want my kids to get an efficient education, from one source or another, and I’m not interested in papering over the cracks with extra lessons. Either school is good enough, or it’s not.  If it’s not, then do something else.

2 thoughts on “Why would you do both?

  1. There is, of course, an answer or two to this.

    You might do both if your children wanted to go to school for other reasons than the academic education.

    You might do both if it just came naturally to you to do both anyway (is that what your relative meant?) – not that you’d have extra ‘lessons’, just that you’d have a constant life ethic of learning being fun, and therefore doing it all the time in day to day activities. Does that make any sense?

    I probably see things slightly differently too, having HEd and now having all three children in school – school isn’t good enough for lots of things but I don’t consider the extra stuff we do at home to be papering cracks, it’s just life, which means enjoying learning.

    To me it’s not necessarily an ‘either – or’ situation any more; more a ‘both – and’. I take the more the merrier approach – as long as the children are happy at both school and home I don’t care where they get the education! If they weren’t happy I would change something – but the academics are incidental in the process, it’s far more about our whole family’s life than about any individual’s academic learning. I guess that’s a personal thing?

  2. You make some very valid points. I think the truth is that I’m really struggling to get out of the habit of thinking of education as something you do TO children. I mean, I understand why it’s not, and I believe in why it’s not (for myself, I’m constantly learning, researching, and generally pursuing knowledge for the fun of it), but the idea of applying education to my children, with or without their consent and/or cooperation is pretty much ingrained (as well as doomed to failure…).

    I also think there’s a difference between education the way you approach it, and the stress-laden, SAT-revision-workbooks approach of some parents. Your way sounds much more fun…

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