Saturday, 5 September 2009
"Don't you have to have a degree?" "Are you a teacher?"
No, no, no!
You might be surprised by how many teachers home educate, but it's certainly not a requirement. Enthusiasm and commitment are far more important qualifications than a degree and PGCE.
A couple of years ago I had a conversation with a newly HEing dad who was fretting that he couldn't get his 15 year old son through his physics GCSE. He had just been pulled out of school and as he was in the midst of his exam year, they didn't feel they had the opportunity to relax and find their way. Dad felt that he had to be at least 2 steps ahead of son in the syllabus in order to teach him. When I suggested that it might make it a more pleasureable experience all round if they learnt together, his eyes lit up. He had never considered that he didn't need to know everything, that he could show his son that it was ok that he didn't. You could see the liberation right there in his eyes.
We were at a fantastic science workshop a little while ago that we were sharing with a couple of school groups. It was great stuff, exploding custard it was called which of course captured our imaginations. Apart from the great content of the workshop, it was a fascinating experience watching the reactions of some of the teachers. The chap who was running the workshop explained that science was all about messing about (experimenting) and that not knowing things was what pushed scientists to make new discoveries. He then came out with a classic line: "Remember children, no one knows everything, not even your teacher. If they say they do, they're lying." Well, I'm sure you can imagine some of the reactions! Personally I found it incredibly refreshing because he was spot on, but it's not something many people will admit to. No one knows everything, and if they pretend they do then they are not to be trusted!
Home education has taught me so much more than I could ever have imagined. It's not just something that the children do, it's truly intergeneration, life long learning. It's great!