“Our daughter had her very first school visit today and we were absolutely mortified at the way the school was structured. Our daughter has bad anxiety and we can tell she will not do well in an open plan class. I am considering home schooling but my partner is not too keen and may need convincing, and my parents think our child will be stupid if schooled at home. What should I do?”
Preparing our children to attend school can be a daunting experience. It doesn’t matter if we are thinking of enrolling them in a local public school, a private school, an alternative school or considering keeping them in the home environment to school them. All learning environments come with their own challenges and successes. These days it’s more about shaping our children’s educational journey to meet our expectations rather than conforming to societies norms.
This is a big time in your family’s life, and a huge next step for your child. There is no need to rush into this! Taking the time to think this through from various angles and putting in an education plan that suits your family’s needs is one of the most important steps you can take towards guaranteeing success in education in the long run.
Remember back to the tortoise and hare story. There is no better time to apply the old ‘slow and steady wins the race’ stratagem than when considering what is important to you as a family when it comes to the how, who, where and why of what your children will be learning over the next 13 years of their ‘schooling’ journey.
Gone are the days where the only option was the local school down the road. The Covid lockdown experience has more than demonstrated the abundance of home schooling options out there. In fact, latest scientific research shows in a survey conducted by CensusAtSchool with over 13,400 students and families interviewed, “Seven out of ten New Zealand school students say that learning at home was the same or better during lockdown compared to learning in school normally”.
The educational journey your child undertakes and the experience they have along that path is going to be a corner stone of who your child then grows into, including; the morals and ethics they hold, how they interact socially with others, cultural awareness, creative expression, how they approach and tackle problem solving, decision making and their academic ability to access higher thinking. This absolutely shouldn’t be passed over to an outsourced babysitting service until you have thoroughly thought about the journey from multiple aspects.
This thought process however can be daunting as parents. If home schooling is unfamiliar to you then stepping out of the ‘known’ can seem like too big of a leap. It’s okay to feel this way and it is normal to have doubts and questions, particularly from partners and parents who had preconceived ideas of what schooling was supposed to look like. The answer to this is to access information, and in New Zealand, we are lucky. We have enormous numbers of home schooling families plugged into networks and communities who provide support, information, resources and a friendly face to accompany you. There are multiple paths you can choose so that you can find a home based system that fits your ideals as a family. We also have an e-book available that is written specifically for this very reason. Feel free to download a free chapter here. https://www.functionaleducation.com/book Knowledge is power.
Educating at home is fast becoming the new norm and can deliver an extremely high level of education tailored specifically for your family’s requirements. Children who follow this path have as many opportunities later in life as their public school educated peers. They can complete the same degrees and achieve the same high level successes and they can do it all in a welcoming environment without trauma. They can love their learning and be passionate about the world around them, immersed in social interactions and inspired to grow into the very best person they could dream to be.
Be curious, see if home schooling is for you. Click the link below to an article on home schooling in New Zealand https://www.functionaleducation.com/homeschool/thinking-of-homeschooling
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Enquiry learning is the third piece of the puzzle that fits seamlessly together with Waldorf and Montessori to form our comprehensive education program.The role that Enquiry learning plays is to develop the children’s learning from the ‘Teacher Led’ end of the scale, through to the ‘Child Led’ end. How a child learns is incredibly important to how they approach life and learning opportunities later on in life.
At Functional Education we make an effort to reflect Waldorf, Montessori and Enquiry learning principles. Last week I wrote a post on how we reflect the 8 guiding principles of Montessori into our every day learning. This week I will outline how we incorporate that with the Waldorf aspects of our curriculum.
Montessori and Waldorf learning are closely aligned through the younger years. Each focuses on children learning with their heads, their hearts and their hands.
A child must be registered in a school from age six, so if a family wishes to homeschool, they need to go to the Ministry of Education website and complete the Home Education Application form before the child turns six.
Functional education can deliver a quality education anywhere you have an internet connection.
It is a privilege to be able to educate your child at home in a school without walls. You have absolute say in how you would like your child to receive their learning in an environment you love.
One of the greatest benefits of educating your children in a school without walls (at home or on the road), is the ability to spend a significant amount of time outdoors. There is no need to organise a massive field trip and fill out copious amounts of Health and Safety paperwork. Just open the door and go.
This excerpt is from the book ‘The Homeschooling Handbook’ by Lorilee Lippincott, 2014. It is an excellent reference for all things homeschooling, and contains lots of lovely case studies from families who have successfully embarked upon this journey.