As I said yesterday, I am an advocate of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. I first heard about the UN CRC a few years ago. It was being bandied about the Children’s Commissioner of Wales and Kirsty Williams, the Minister of Education in the Welsh Senedd as an argument in favor of a home education register, mandatory reporting and home visit. They pointed to:
Article 28 (right to education)UN CRC
Every child has the right to an education. Primary education must be free and different forms of secondary education must be available to every child. Discipline in schools must respect children’s dignity and their rights. Richer countries must help poorer countries achieve this.
Ignoring the fact that ‘discipline in schools’ rarely respects a child’s dignity or rights, they believed that it was the duty of government, namely Local Authorities, to monitor the quality of education as well as the wishes of the child in terms of attending school.
The hypocrisy, of course, is that they did not see the need to give schoolers the option of being home educated. They did not see school attendance as a freedom of choice issue for all children, only home educated ones.
But what appealed to me was:
Article 29 (goals of education)UN CRC
Education must develop every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full. It must encourage the child’s respect for human rights, as well as respect for their parents, their own and other cultures, and the environment.
Have you stopped laughing, yet? Yes, I found it incredibly ironic that these women would claim that government had the obligation to ensure that home educated children had the right to an education and to monitor the quality of that education when their own schools failed to meet this standard so abysmally.
I have lived in two countries, half a dozen US states, and visited many other places. I have NEVER seen a school that meets that standard. I’m not saying they don’t exist. Maybe somewhere in this world, I have certainly not seen it all.
I’ll be honest, even much of the home education that I have witnessed fails to meet that standard. I think we can, and many do better than schools. For the simple reason of adult to child ratio. One, ideally two, parents with even half-a-dozen children is still vastly superior in terms of individual attention than one teacher to thirty students for seven or eight hours per day. Parents have an investment in their children that even the best teacher in the world cannot. Well, good parents, anyway.
It is laughable to imagine that schools ‘develop every child’s personality, talents, and abilities to the full.’ They don’t have the time or resources to do that. At best it is about providing discipline, structure, and access to information to as many as they can.
Article 29 is especially important if you are the parent of a special needs, neurodivergent, or #ActuallyAutistic young person. They are almost always the first ones to fall through the cracks. They are too often pushed to the side, given the bare minimum in order to the maintain classroom stability for others, and seen only for their deficits, not their immense talents.
Even the lucky few given one-to-one support rarely receive an education that meets their needs. More often than not that level of support is only provided in order to maintain the classroom stability for the benefit of the ‘normal’ children. That child and their future have been written off. They can never hope to achieve real ‘success’ as adults.
Only a highly motivated, well-informed, loving, and patient parent (or other support person) can achieve that goal of developing the neurodivergent young person’s personality, talents, and abilities to the full. That is not achieved by National Curriculum or standardized testing. That is a process which takes years and is ever changing as that young person grows and develops.
It is a process that is best fostered by allowing the young person to explore and develop those talents and abilities on their own. Rather than focusing solely on their deficits such as behaviors, reading abilities, or attention span.
Those are just some of @PanKwake’s artistic and design projects that she had achieved. Our home ed focuses on those talents abilities rather than her challenges. As a result her personality had blossomed.
Do I think that we have achieved those goals of education at our @HomeCrazzyHome?
I think that we get a passing grade (not that I believe in such things). I think that compared to schools or even most of the home educators I know we are doing better. But we are not perfect.
I do believe that we are preparing and equipping @PanKwake emotionally, mentally, and physically for real life. In a way that schools fail to prepare even those ‘normal’ children.