Real talk: as the parent of home educated kids I still find myself hoping they’ll outperform their school peers academically, despite believing the measures and benchmarks are irrelevant. Not all the time, not by a long shot, but the feeling bubbles up now and then.
I’m not sure why.
To prove to others that the path we’re taking ‘works’?
To prove that…to myself?
A blend of those things, I think. Sometimes the feeling scares me. But then the road less travelled usually is a bit scary.
As home educating parents we’ve chosen to walk away from a childcare system that someone else takes point on running – from when that fifth birthday cake is cut through to the start of adulthood. We’ve turned our back on one of the world’s core social norms. We’ve made the choice to give up a significant chunk of potential income. We’ve waived the right to hand over any responsibility for our children’s progress in life.
We’ve put all that squarely on our own shoulders, often in the face of disbelief, criticism and finger-wagging from both people we know and people we don’t. We’ve done that because we believe the very essence of childhood is crying out to be redefined, and that it will only happen if enough parents choose to help ignite the fire of change. I think we’re brave and we’re bold, just like all the other home educating families out there.
But we’re also human, and the social pressure to fall in line can be overwhelming.
I know we’re not the only ones who feel this way, so if you ever have that bubbling worry please know you’re not alone. And please keep telling yourself this:
The measures are irrelevant. The comparisons are meaningless. Age should not define an academic standard. Other people should not define our personal goals. The achievements of one child should never be expected from another. Every child has their own dreams. Every child is unique. Every child deserves the right to be respected for who they are.
And you – you are the change.