Stephen Eastwood
December 2016.

Is home schooling good for children?

1 answer

I think essentially education is a social activity, and it should be therefore be done in a school.

There has been an increase in home schooling, and I think the real reason for that is that people are very concerned about the quality of education in schools, so they withdraw their children, which is an indictment of the state of the education system.

The difference is that a teacher has one thing that a parent teaching a child themselves hasn’t got, and that’s authority of the subject-expert, which is based on what they know. They’re not just an adult telling children what to do.

It may be that sometimes home schooling produces children who get good qualifications, but that’s a different thing, it’s the more social aspects that they miss out on: learning how to debate and discuss and relate to other people in a scholarly way. One school in East London – the East London Science School – has a unique ‘Scholarly Behaviour Policy’ which links behaviour to learning, rather than children just doing what they’re told and being good because they’re told to do this or that by adults.

It’s the difference between saying “you’re not listening to me, and you must do what I say” and “if you don’t listen you won’t learn” – and you can only really have the authority to do that in a school rather than in a home setting.

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