In the US, it is called ‘homeschooling’, and the official legal term in the UK is ‘home education’… but why did I feel that neither of these terms really fit what we are doing, and why do I tell people we are World Learning?
Well, let’s start off with answering some questions about what ‘home education’ is in the UK.
Did you know that the legal default in the UK for a child’s schooling is home education? It is the parents that are legally responsible for ensuring that their child of compulsory school age receives “efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude, and to any special educational needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise”. So a parent can choose to opt in to the school system and delegate that responsibility to the school (and Ofsted holds the school accountable to the parents that way), or can decide to fulfill their legal duties under the “or otherwise” part.
Home education has grown greatly in popularity as parents become more dissatisfied with the school system, or because they don’t feel the school can meet their child’s needs socially, educationally or in another way, or quite often a child has been bullied and they are removed for their own mental wellness.
Why we chose not to send our children to school
Firstly, I have to make the point that until the term after a child reaches the age of 5, a child is not compulsory school age, and so the Education Act has no bearing on what happens to a child. So technically, we are only concentrating on our approach to Addie’s education, but Bear is a part of our family and he learns too, so I will be including him in what we are doing in this post.
As some of you know, I am a Montessori teacher, and I love that approach to education. I will write more in another blog post, but suffice to say it is very far away from what you can find in schools these days, so I guess I might fall in to the ‘dissatisfied with the school system’ crowd… but it is a lot more than that.
I don’t want my children to grow up in a factory production line where they are segregated by a very narrow age band, and all expected to be at the same stage in every subject all the time (or be ‘underperforming’), in a setting where they can really only ‘develop’ their social skills under the watchful eye of dinner ladies who will step in and interrupt any play they deem to be inappropriate. (In Montessori children learn at their own pace in all subjects, and learn in a community of age groups, so that there is a much wider age range in a class – 3 years, in fact – and they can choose what they learn, when and for how long during each school day, including socialising with their friends, working together, or working independently as they choose.)
I also believe that we can learn so much through our experiences in life, through travel and flexible learning, staying at home from time to time, and also learning to be a citizen of the world, by being IN IT, not just reading about it.
So where does World Learning come in?
Well, in the US, they call it homeschooling, and that sounds like people do school at home. We do have a Montessori classroom at home, but we don’t really recreate school at home, we can’t. In Montessori, children learn in communities of 30-40 children, where they learn from and teach each other (as well as being guided by teachers), so there is no way we could recreate a Montessori school at home.
In the UK, we call it home education. Yeah, yeah, I know that is the legal term and many home edders are very protective over its proper usage, but seriously, we do some learning at home, but I personally feel that we have a huge amount of learning that happens outside of the home (and if we took part in all the local home ed activities we would never, ever be actually at home!)
So a couple of years ago, we joined a Facebook community of Worldschoolers, who use the whole world as their classroom and travel extensively allowing their children to learn new languages, cultures, see new places and meet a huge range of different people. I love this! And this is something we are planning on doing when our businesses are a bit more established, when we can literally work anywhere in the world (with an internet connection), and also we are waiting until Bear is a little bit older and can appreciate things a bit more.
But I have felt a bit of a fraud being in a group that is full of world-travelling people, and we are not.
Which got me thinking… I don’t like the words ‘school’ or ‘education’ (although we do say we are going to do some ‘school’ when we do work in our classroom)… yeah, I know… those words aren’t bad, and they kinda explain a bit of what we are doing – some ‘school’ stuff, some ‘education’, but I think we are learning a whole lot more on our journey.
We are learning about the world around us, even if we aren’t jetsetting at the moment. We are learning about people, about morals and being good people. We are learning about ourselves, our emotions and how to manage them. We are learning to be healthy and happy. We are learning how things work, how to be good friends, how to exist in society. We are learning to dig in the dirt, and the creatures that reveals. We are learning about all the wonderful nature around us, we are learning to read, write and how maths works in our lives. And it is not just about learning during ‘school time’ or even our school years. Bear learns, and we are learning too. We are ALL on this learning journey together (and I am definitely way too old for school!).
So we are World Learners. Together. As a family.
And we hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride with us as we share things with you on this blog.
Thanks for being with us!