“Young people were born free; soon they may be everywhere in chains”
(Tim Hands, Head of Magdalen College School)
Taking the responsibility for educating our own children has never been more important than now! And by education, I don’t refer to the three r’s taught in school but the broader, deeper spectrum of everyday nurturing and development of our children through their formative years to adulthood and beyond. In a system that has lent more and more towards a nanny mentality over the years, parents have, in many cases been forced to take a back seat. Governments talk about parental responsibility but seldom action their words. They instil reinforcers to force parents to take responsibility (as they see it) far too often drawing on punishments, fines and bullyboy tactics to instil the standards that they see fit for our children but so often such negative reinforcement does not produce long term results more so short term fear that elicits an immediate response and denies positive outcomes in the future.
Now don’t get me wrong, a lot of those standards, are values shared across the board but with the whims and fancies of politics they waiver constantly in the breeze of change that sweeps across the nation periodically and particularly virally at this moment in time. Change is good, or at least can be, but too much change too quickly is unsettling and most of all it destabilizes our children particularly in the classroom. Teachers become hyper sensitized seeing ‘challenges’ in everything from the political demands placed on their heads to the communications they have with children and parents and as such a downward spiral begins as the statistics game unravels and policy after policy is drawn in a flagging attempt to keep up with unreasonable demands. This leads to stress and a pressed classroom environment and ultimately an educational myopia develops as schools are reduced to their lowest common denominator of the three r’s rather than embracing the broader spectrum of education that is inclusive, rewarding and inspirational. It is as frustrating for teachers as well as everyone else!
But as parents, there are choices and one is to uplift children with a life that is stimulating, thought provoking, enjoyable and rewarding. A life that gives them purpose – that sees them as unique individuals carving their own distinctive pathways respectfully. More than ever before, parents need to stand up for their children. They need to cut loose the chains of a system that is failing them, to liberate their minds and their souls and to inspire the next generation.
They say, ‘if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well’ and they also say ‘if you want something doing, do it yourself’. Maybe a subscription to the educational system of this country will assist in the teaching of some children – realistically that is the system that many will buy into but education does not stop at the playground gates. Or maybe home education is the way forward – that choice is always the parents. Critically though, every parent is a home educator. The state (and private) education system does not define a child’s education – it is a service to help the parents educate their children for really the buck should stop with the parents. Any system that is as regimented as the school system will ultimately corrupt, constrain, constrict and deprive children of reaching their full potential. Full potential is a 24/7 ethos of constructive change towards a goal post that will enhance the lives of our children. Tomorrow’s adults.
So to all parents, step up to the mark. Put trust in those who are trustworthy, turn your back on those who aren’t and don’t leave to chance the future of your most precious gift – your children. Embrace your inner home educator today whether or not you buy into the services of the school education system to help you en-route.