Tuesday, 16 August 2011
Possible disadvantage with home education which may actually be an advantage
I have never found any disadvantage in home education as far as education itself is concerned. Nor have I ever observed lack of socialisation causing my daughter any problems. One thing that has bothered me over the years is that children like this, who have been the centre of their parents’ lives in a more personal way than those who are sent to school, might come to believe themselves to be more special and important than is actually the case. In other words they might, at worst, grow into spoiled brats and at best grow up thinking that they are frightfully clever/talented/important. I have certainly noticed that my own daughter acts as though she knows more than other people and that her views and opinions are more likely to be correct than anybody else’s. Of course, part of this is adolescence in general and might not be all that different from schooled teenagers. It is something that I have been aware of though and tried actively to discourage. It has not helped that newspapers and radio stations contact her for her views on various things; The Guardian are ringing her tomorrow to ask what she thinks about A levels!
What struck me a few weeks ago is that this mindset might not necessarily be a bad thing. Often, we tend to listen to those who appear to know what they are talking about and confident people have their views taken into account in a way that the more hesitant and timid among us do not. This was brought home to me forcefully when my daughter got a job for the summer. Not for her of course the waitressing or baby-sitting that the daughters of our friends fall back upon for pocket money. She has instead been engaged as the marketing assistant for an ICT company in the city. She is now running their twitter, face book and so on, as well as revamping their email newsletters, ad campaigns and various other things about which I know little. I was slightly staggered that a high profile company should give a job like this to a 17 year-old who has never worked anywhere before. As far as I can make out, she got it by sheer cheek and horrifying confidence. In other words, her feeling that she is clever and important paid off and she was able to persuade others to buy into her own valuation of herself. For a reticent person like me, this kind of thing is hard to understand. Nevertheless, it seems to work and I am reluctantly compelled to conclude that a teenager thinking and acting as though she is clever and talented might not be something to discourage after all. Perhaps what I have always thought of as one of the bad points of home education might instead be one of its strengths!