I do know that we are still in the "deschooling period", so there is no pressure *takes relaxing deep breath* - and I'm also aware that this 'wobbling' has been provoked by the responses to an article I posted a link to the other day: Seven Lessons I Teach. I still think this is a really helpful article, but not all of the responses to it were so appreciative. Admittedly only one of the negative ones (from an American professor) spoke from personal experience - the others seemed to be speaking from uninformed prejudice against HE, using personal attacks and insults. However, it made me think more (not a bad thing) - it's the first time I've felt the need to justify Home Ed as a philosophy (I know, that's a rare thing, and I do appreciate how blessed I am to have the support of everyone around us). The only argument that I felt had any validity was the afore-mentioned American professor who said that from his experience, home-schooled students "are very rarely competent or well-trained scholars... not infrequently have a wayward approach to study... and usually do not know how to deal with their peers when it comes to debate and group learning". I have to admit that the thought of this proving true for my boys does bother me... but why? After all, academia is not an end in itself. Surely academic success is a means to an end: a qualification is lovely if it is useful, but what's the point of it otherwise? Just to prove that you have brains? I think it's the "rarely a competent scholar" bit that bothers me (the "wayward approach to study" - well, who cares how they study as long as it works for them? My own approach was pretty wayward, and I went through the state system)... but I wonder what he means by competent scholar. My immediate assumption is one who is disciplined in their approach to research and who can study until understanding is attained - but is that because it's at the front of my mind at the moment? If I go back to my thoughts from this past weekend, I just need to remind myself that the point of Home Education is we learn as we go along. Where my boys are at now is not where they'll be in five-to-ten years time. As other more experienced Home Edders have reassured me, a reluctant learner can and will turn into an enthusiastic learner (or dare I say, 'competent scholar'?) when faced with something that interests them (and if it doesn't interest them - why bother?) *takes another deep breath*. The main thing is to find out what interests them, by presenting them with a whole raft of potentially interesting things, and then equip them with everything they need to pursue those interests.
PS Having just posted this, I found a blog that could have been written especially for me today, by one of my favourite Home Ed writers, so I'm sharing it here: Imagine (Ross Mountney)