Responsibility, Delegation and Accountability of Educating Children
© Beverley Paine
A recent discussion turned to the issue of responsibility, delegation and accountability in the education of children. One speaker felt that not all parents wanted to, could or should, homeschool their children; to which John Angelico replied: "Ducking it by dumping the job onto someone/thing else doesn't actually absolve us of the responsibility - you can delegate a task and the authority to complete it, but you can't delegate a responsibility. You have to hold the other person/thing accountable for the job you delegated to them."
My experience has shown that it's much easier to accept full responsibility and go it alone than to try and persuade school teachers and principals that what they are offering just isn't working with my child (or the other kids in the class).
Millions, no billions of dollars (Euros, pounds, whatever) are spent annually on education in school. It doesn't make sense that the school system of education can't achieve quality education for ALL students. No-one - individual or government - has yet been able to hold the public school system accountable.
Most parents of schooled children I talk to are aghast and deny it when I tell them I think that the success or failure of their child's education is their responsibility. If I'm pestered and feeling fiesty, I like to ask them what they are doing to ensure their child receives the quality education the school system promises.
How do they know their children are learning everything they need to know? How does the curriculum provide for quality social interaction? How does the curriculum provide for integration with the local and wider community? What programs are in place to facilitate successful tranmission from school to tertiary education or employment? Do you personally know the school pastor, or are aware of the school's pastoral care policy? What would happen if their child breaks a leg at school?
It's amazing how many parents simply hand over the care and well-being of their children to total strangers and a system of care they know little about...
My conclusion is that most people really don't care and can't wait for their children to grow up. I guess that's why they call it a 'hurried childhood'.
I am also amazed at how many people are willing to face the constant and frustrating challenge of battling entrenched and hostile attitudes from schools, yet are unwilling to take the homeschooling path. Homeschooling for six months is enough to empower parents and students to tackle the educational system assertively, ensuring better outcomes for their children.
As an emergency 'bandaid' to difficult problems, homeschooling has much to offer those parents who will ultimately opt for school. The perception that homeschooling is difficult and that we all need to make a lifelong committment to it undermines it's potential to offer a real alternative to all families. And that's exactly how the educational authorities want it to remain!
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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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Beverley Paine, The Educating Parent
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