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Educational innovation: schools vs homeschooling?

Last week I saw Wired article The Techies Who Are Hacking Education by Homeschooling Their Kids, then the reaction to it, essentially accusing homeschooling parents from the article for “living in the bubble” and creating nice environment for their own kids instead of contributing to changing schools for everyone, and then a follow-up from a homeschooling side, No one’s going to DIY that for you, sweetheart.

It’s a pity that with the current educational climate there is often either/or situation where both sides do not want to do much with each other. It feels that in the Netherlands the gap between two sides might be even worse. Within the current legal and political situation providing more flexibility and individualisation within the school system may contribute to proposed prohibition of homeschooling (because in this case ‘schools can cater reasonably good for everyone’).

If you look at the parallels in business, this is the choice is between working for a big (hopefully nice and flexible πŸ™‚ company vs. being self-employed (ideally in a network environment ;). Everyone makes their own choice and deals with the consequences. Homeschooling how I see it fits very much with the second option. You do have to deal with more potential risks, but you have more flexibility as well, so there is a great potential for developing truly individualised and networked learning practices. There are many things to learn from homeschoolers both at the family and at the network level.

Homeschooling groupAs a learning professional and a homeschooling parent I would like to contribute to the changes in the system, but I also would like to make the best choices for my kids. And I’d like to do both, without the need to take sides. As kids are getting bigger I am slowly getting more active contributing to Dutch homeschooling scene and I also try to keep up with ideas that come from the schools that push boundaries of the current system (some examples to keep: TV program De onderwijzer aan de macht or Plan flexiklas from democratische basisschool De Vallei).

While the “either/or” situations might be unavoidable at times, at the end it is not that important where educational innovations appear, within a school or at a family level (or somewhere in between), as far as all sides are open to learn from them.

And now back to my daily job of facilitating three learners πŸ™‚


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