Are home-schooled kids missing out?
Q: Mybeloved relative’s children are being home schooled. While they are polite and energetic and wellschooled in their religion I worry for their future.
They don’t have a love of books and appear to have no curiosity. They spend lots of time either playing with each other or on their iPads looking at videos. They socialise well with other church children but don’t seem to know how to socialise outside this group.
Their mother is busy feeding and looking after them and gives them their lessons but she is not a reader. They have very little knowledge of history – Diana, who is she? Chairman Mao, who is he? – or science and can’t monitor themselves via a clock. They are 11.
There is no point in my arguing with the parents, but how can I help?
I fear for their future, both for their possible careers and for their ability to cope in a world where parents ensure their children have the best of education opportunities in order to thrive. A:
You used some positive words to describe these children and their mother (the educator) – polite, energetic and wellschooled in their religion and you said ‘the mother was busy looking after them and gives them their lessons’.
On the less positive side you say the mother is not a reader and the children have no curiosity. It’s hard to know whether you see enough of these children to make such a big statement and whether they’re playing on iPads and watching movies because you’re visiting. It’s well known that it takes a village to raise a child and I wonder if this mother could use some help?
If you are a reader, you might have skills to offer these children. Why don’t you bring in suitable books and set some reading comprehension questions? Reading books stimulates curiosity and the children might become interested in the historical figures you mentioned.
But if you’re adamant that these children are not being given the best education opportunities, then I have the official line from the Ministry of Education’s Katrina Casey, deputy secretary, sector enablement and support. You can make a complaint about your relative’s home educating standards to the Ministry of Education.
If theMOEis concerned that these children are not being educated ‘‘at least as regularly and well as in a registered school’’ then the regional office will investigate. In some instances, they may request the Education Review Office conduct a review. If the ERO identifies areas of concern it will work with the home educator to address those issues.
As all home educators have to file a declaration form twice yearly confirming they are educating their child (to ensure they receive their supervision allowance), you can probably be assured that your relative has this matter in hand.
Education styles have changed. Children playing on iPads can still be learning.