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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!
Schools Foster 'Mob Mentality'
Discussions about home-schooling and schooling provides good food for thought to support and further develop our individual home-schooling practices.
As a grandmother to be and a Master's Student, I cannot afford to skirt between the veils of naivety where and when there are children being victimised.
The recent much publicized behavior of Year 12 events at a Melbourne private school have given rise to interesting comments from school principals regarding the prevalence of a 'mob-mentality' found in many schools.
As a past volunteer and employee at my daughter's ex -public school, I have experienced first-hand the stripping down of individuality for the sake of 'fitting in' to the mob.
School services officers (SSOs), are employed without any qualifications or experience by the Education Department on recommendation byf the school.
A minority of these SSO's gain this recommendation by making themselves in-dispensable to the staff of the school to service their own personal needs for control and position on a staffroom chair. It is within this minority that I took one SSO to task for her bullying of one small boy. This person turned around and told me that children this age do not remember these things, that by the time they went home they had forgotten all about it and therefore could not verbalise the incident to their parents.
In horror I went to the principle who then told me this woman was his 'right-hand woman', who offered extra security to the school as she lived opposite, ran the school disco and even made his toasty toasties everyday for lunch.
This principle also informed me that the children of parents who volunteered their time and energy to the school 'seemed to do better at the school' (a kind of favour for favour deal)..
I have teachers in my own extended family and although I empathise for over-populated classrooms and lack of pay, it saddens me that when they visit my home, they are visibly and emotionally exhausted of children to the extent they cannot engage with mine. I find this very disheartening as I know they do their jobs as best they can under highly stressful conditions, conditions that desperately need restructuring.
The classrooms that consisted of 15-20 children at most, were large and freshly painted. The children were not made to sit on the floor below the teacher. They sat on comfortable rounded seating that formed a circle and the children were able to express their own opinions on an equal level to their teacher.
In the playground there were giant lady-bug mosaics featured here and there at sites chosen by the children. The children had adopted and created these lady-bug motifs as their non-bullying logos and this reminded them to be kind to each-other at play.
Talking to mothers and teachers at this school they informed me that the cultures of the school and home worked together well. Communication lines flowed freely and issues were addressed directly.
Please note: I cannot speak for the private system as I have had no experience at these schools - yet!
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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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Beverley Paine, The Educating Parent
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