Saturday, 9 September 2017

If I was 'Queen For A Day' - no, I've a better idea!

Instead of being "Queen For A Day" (no thanks!) it would be far more interesting to be "The Head of the Ministry of Education For The Day."   (or if necessary Prime Minister For The Day).

If that ever happened I'd like to remove the words "At least as regularly and as well as in a registered school"  from anything to do with home educators.

Quoted from:

To homeschool a child (also known as home educate), parents can request and receive from the Ministry of Education a ‘Certificate of Exemption’ from enrolling their child or children at registered schools.
The Ministry will only grant an exemption if they are satisfied that the child will betaught at least as regularly and well at home as in a registered school.

and further on the same page:

On completion of the review, ERO will write a report that includes:
  • a judgement about whether the exempted student is being taught at least asregularly and well as in a registered school
  • a conclusion stating whether the Chief Review Officer can assure the Secretary for Education that the terms of the exemption have been met.

ANY teacher, or home ed parent who knows what's what will testify that you can TEACH till you're blue in the face, till the cows come home and till the moon turns into blue cheese - but it makes absolutely no difference unless your pupil/child is LEARNING.

verb: teach; 3rd person present: teaches; past tense: taught; past participle: taught; gerund or present participle: teaching
impart knowledge to or instruct (someone) as to how to do something.

Is the problem with the word "teach" or is there something deeper going on? 

Is the word "teach" used because it is somewhat "measurable"?

It reminds me of one of my favourite movies -

Watch it here:
Summerhill (2008)

One can put the timer on and TEACH for 3 hours in the morning, ending with a very satisfied feeling and a big TICK on your daily planner, BUT the children retain very little/nothing if they weren't involved, engaged and interested.

I know home educating parents who tie themselves in knots trying to present information (teach) in an exciting and relevant way so the children will be interested.   The same information, when stumbled across naturally by the child, or left for the child to find (by the parent who has "strewn the path" with the information at the right time) may be absorbed and understood and delightfully added to their "storehouse of knowledge" BECAUSE THEY WERE READY AND INTERESTED by themselves.

A child can sit in a classroom for years, being exposed to hour after hour of teaching and still not learn enough to pass the required exams.

If a child has learned to fake it, they can look engaged and interested from the outside, whilst inside their heads they are going through a playlist of current favourite songs, planning a outing for the weekend, wondering what's for tea, stressed about a threat they've received, worried about the family's financial situation ... in which case NO AMOUNT OF "TEACHING" is going to make an impression on them right at that time.

So yes, to remove the words "At least as regularly and as well as in a registered school" AND THE MINDSET BEHIND IT would be a major step forward for the MOE.

And they would say "Thank you" to me.  
They would say "We never realised how inefficient and silly that statement was."
And they would all be grateful that I had explained, and that they now had a better understanding of the situation.
And it would make life easier for home educators who are applying for exemptions, and easier for the MOE staff who are processing those applications.
And a WHOLE lot easier for the ERO if they ever had to review a home educating family.

And I would be pleased to have helped. 

If I was the head of the Ministry of Education for the day.


I honestly don't know how teachers find the energy to carry on every day with multiple children who have multiple needs/difficulties/backgrounds/things happening in their lives that impact their ability to learn.  Let alone the politics of the classroom/relationships with parents/massive weight of responsibility/school policies/board of directors/government policies ...  I have highest respect for those teachers who continue in the face of all that.

And of course I have the highest respect for parents who diligently, responsibly and respectfully home educate their children.  And that is why I do what I do.    xxx



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