Feb 21: Reflection

Don’t teach them too much or they’ll be ahead

Reflections on our first year of Home Education:

I've been reflecting on the year and remembering why we chose home education in the first place, aside from the proposed trip which prompted the idea. I've been reminded that when the children were still attending school I would say "I don't want to teach too much or they'll be ahead". I've heard others say it too, about their academically-minded children.

After all, who wants their child to sit, bored, in a room all day with 29 other children learning about something they already know? So as parents we deliberately hold them back, tell them it's something they can learn later when they show an interest in a topic that isn't on the school curriculum until next term, and discourage practicing the three times-table because it's not taught at KS1.

Really, no one would EVER say that in any other area: sports, art, music for example. Children are praised for being talented and are encouraged to go further and take extra-curricular classes. In the "academic" subjects though, we're told: "mastery is more important, keep practicing" instead of moving the child ahead, or "let's see if anyone else knows this" making the fact-absorbing child feel awkward for knowing too many answers.

I'm not blaming schools. This is the fault of the curriculum and it's the result of having to teach prescribed information to large groups of mixed-ability children at once.

Home schooling works for me and it works for my children. They've definitely become more curious this year, asking questions which I can help them answer, allowing them to go down a rabbit-hole of a particular topic if they wish. And yes, we're doing the three times-table.

I don't need to worry about them being ahead, or being behind, because I don't need to compare them with anyone else. They can learn at the pace that suits them and they will become, as we all do, the sum of their experiences. This is their life and their journey.