Are home-schooled kids miss­ing out?

The Hutt News - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

123RF

Ed­u­ca­tion styles have changed. Chil­dren play­ing on iPads can still be learn­ing.

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