I’m sitting here at my desk looking out watching the prep students busy themselves with unpacking their bags, sorting their belongings and organising their home readers. The parents are chatting amongst themselves and intervening when necessary. One of the ‘parents’ looks a little out of place, she is not chatting with the other adults and she is focused on changing the reader of the young prep child that is talking to her.
As I look again, I realise that this ‘parent’ is not a parent at all, but is in fact the older sister of the young prep child. I quickly count back and realise that this child herself is simply that, a child, a year 8 child. I continue to watch her and her sibling as they interact in more of a parent-child relationship, rather than a sibling relationship. The older child listens to the younger child read and then ticks her name on the reading list, the older child then quickly reads the class notices on the classroom door, ensures the younger sibling is organised for the day and then makes her way towards the school gates. I can’t help but wonder what the rest of the day holds for this home schooled child?
This home schooled child has successfully taken on the persona of the parent at the tender age of 13. I know from history that she will be back at 2:30pm to pick up her younger sibling. It makes me wonder how much schooling is happening for this older child?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against home schooling and actually undertook the home schooling education for a short period of time of my eldest child when he was much younger. I have friends who have home schooled all four of their children and all the children have all grown up to do wonderful things including going off to University, studying interstate and they have boyfriends and girlfriends, and they function successfully within society. I believe home schooling worked for this family simply because they took it seriously; routines were followed, expectations were set and goals and outcomes were set and reached and extra-curricula activities were always encouraged.
Sometimes home schooling can be seen as an easy out; no routines, no expectations, no need to be organised, no stress. From what I know and see in my own community home schooling is an area where great improvements need to be made. If parents want to home school, that’s great, but they must be held accountable, otherwise what a monumental injustice they are doing to their own children. If you home school your child successfully, I take my hat off to you, however, if you home school your child as a result of your own laziness then shame on you, you are a disgrace to parenting!