Myth busting Home Education Part 3- A Testing Subject!

In the grand old landscape of home education, there exists a persistent myth surrounding home-educated and homeschooled children which I really wanted to address, not only because it’s completely false but also because the sheer volume of inaccuracies surrounding home education could potentially have an effect on the decision of those wondering if it’s a good fit for their own family.

So which elephant in the room am I talking about today I hear you ask… I’m tackling the subject of whether home educated and homeschooled children are excluded from standardized testing, such as GCSEs and A-levels, due to what some people seem to think are unconventional learning environments, or to put it simply, because they don’t attend school.

So let’s not only unravel this misconception but let’s also open up the field and delve into the broader conversation about not only whether children can or cannot have access to standardised tests but also the benefits, or lack of them for children both educated at home and in school.

So first let’s take on the initial elephant in the room head first— the misconception that home-educated children cannot undertake standardised testing.

I can tell you quite catagorically that this notion is false.

From baseline testing up to A-levels, the options are wide open for all home-educated and homeschooled children, the only difference is the way that we have to go about obtaining the relevant paperwork to make sure that our little pigeons fit nicely into societies round holes differ somewhat than if our children attended a mainstream setting.

For younger children, parents can choose to purchase SAT packs and preparation test materials from reputable sources like CGP, or explore various online courses that allow you to pay for such a privilege should you wish to measure your childs academic progress.

For young people, the option for sitting GCSE and A Levels are there, albeit parents would not only need to make financial provisions for such tests as home educated and homeschooled children are not entitled to these resources for free, but would also need to work out the logistical aspect too because instead of sitting their exams in a local school setting, they have to travel to an approved exam centre dotted throughout the UK and undertake the relevant paperwork whilst there.

This is important to note because like most things, home educating or homeschooling families receive ZERO financial help throughout the provision of their childs education, this is definitely something that people must take into consideration when considering this lifestyle.

That said, forewarned is forearmed and most home educating parents like ourselves, begin to make financial provisions for these kind of situations early on to enable their children to have every available option open to them just as they would if they were in a main school setting and then some!

So, now that we’ve debunked the myth, it’s time to shift the conversation to a more critical aspect— the actual benefits of standardised testing for our children.

In my experience, the current emphasis placed on achieving good exam results is having a significant negative effect on young minds.

This potentially leads to mental health issues and challenges later in life and it really by now, should prompt us to ask the question on whether the insistence on placing such weight on test scores in this day and age is actually that necessary or beneficial for our children who are involved.

What many people still don’t realise is that the pressure to achieve certain grades primarily benefits schools rather than the individual students, particularly in primary and junior years.

The consequences of schools pushing children to achieve what they seem to be acceptable grades to allow the school more financial rewards may be far-reaching for the young minds involved, potentially causing long-lasting implications on children who actually received no mental, physical or emotional benefits for the tests that they are forced to take part in.

It time we started shifting the focus.

The way we live our lives in recent years has changed and so has the way that we work to achieve that lifestyle.

There has never been a more opportune time to allow our next generation to explore a whole new offering of possibilities, many of which do not solely rely on a letter stamped on a piece of paper to allow them to move forward and take on the many prospects available to them.

Isn’t it about time to redirect our focus away from test results and towards the overall development of our children?

Standardized testing, particularly for young children, lacks any evidence of their positive qualities academically, mentally, emotionally, and socially.

A test result cannot show that a child is musically gifted, not can it show if a child is resourceful or creative.

By continuing to push tests on young children, we are inadvertently contributing to a culture that grades and judges individuals early in life, clipping their wings and taking away their confidence to go forward with their own unique offerings rather than just those laid out many years previously by a group of complete strangers!

By taking a step back and asking the right question, we begin to start recognizing and valuing the diverse talents and qualities of each child, irrespective of test results which are only valid for a very short time span regardless of how positive they may be.

Let’s start promoting positivity, better mental health, and increased self-confidence. It’s time to redefine success beyond a percentage on a sheet of paper and embrace a more liberated approach to education.

Asking whether children can or cannot sit exams is NOT the right question, the question that we should be asking is whether it’s actually beneficial for every child to take part in such a process.

If, as parents, we do not challenge these aspects of our children’s future, we risk leaving them a world where they become unable to.

As always , I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this subject and if you would like to find out more information about home education or homeschooling and make a decision as to whether it would be a good fit for your family based on fact, rather than fiction, please head over to the educational freedom website right here 👇🏻

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