Saturday, 26 May 2012

Or not

This is a question for home ed. To exam or Not to exam?

Having survived to secondary age on a primary diet of wind, rain, field, and mountainside, we have to think what to do next.

For Shark, Squirrel and Tiger, the answer is easy! Go outside and make bows and arrows. Willow, elder, ash and hazel - all good!

I can wave a blank sheet of paper at the doorway if I want. Then feebly suggest someone might pen a story about what it feels like, perhaps to find an enemy in the wood and discover they are no enemy at all? Maybe after you shot them?

My story plan, albeit brilliant, will fall on deaf ears. I have raised independent-minded children who follow their own creativities. And if there's any story in the offing, it's going to have a catfish as a Sherlock Holmes hero.

But we have reached this point, age 12, where I shall start to worry, bit by bit more, about whether to exams, how to exams, if a GCSE Maths syllabus will make me cry, or whether life after age 16 involves a park bench and a meths bottle like they say.

We have plenty of precedent in this world for the No exam route. We have home educators aplenty with anecdotal tales to tell about kids who reach university and beyond on the strength of experience, personality, contacts (deniable), smart thinking, and sometimes a string of A levels, but definitely no GCSEs. Why bother disrupting a life of finding out with a pointless ticky-box test?

A large bit of me thinks they are right.

Then the other wing, who are like walking exam advisory bodies. Between them, they know every minutiae about every exam board, mark scheme, syllabus content, recommended books, GCSE choices from Ancient Civilisation to Welsh, and whether you can take in a calculator for Paper 4 on the 2013 June CIE IGCSE (1 hr 30 mins).

A large bit of me thinks they are wise.

Well, I do not have an answer for today. And the kids have legged it. I will only say that my public deliberations on this issue will continue. I guess, in the end, the final decisions will rest with Shark, Squirrel and Tiger.


kelly said...

I'm following you closely on this one, with a daughter a year younger than yours.

I don't worry quite so much about her, she is a bit interested in workbooks and has older friends taking exams, so it makes her feel big and important to announce "I'm going to study"

The boys....well they don't plan to work or leave home EVER. Not a great ad for home ed really but then they are 9, 7 and 3 so maybe I'm pushing them out too early?

Allie said...

Where we live the home ed kids nearly all go to college at sixteen. In days gone by there were, I have been told, plenty of options for getting GCSE level qualifications at college post-16. But round here those options have narrowed and narrowed to the point where people are left with a very limited range of options if they turn up at college without GCSEs.

This is why our teenager is doing them. I'd rather she has enough to take her pick of level 3 courses than end up getting funnelled into something by the limited range of level 2 courses available.

The trick is, in my experience and from watching friends, picking the right moment to start. Too young can knock confidence and too old can lead to a scramble to get them or a teen who keeps getting distracted by all those things that are more fun when you're fifteen...

Grit said...

it seems some kids are just given to follow the exam route, kelly. that makes it sort of easy, huh?

and isn't there something in lego management that the 3-year old could do?

yes, allie, thank you; i think you are wise about this; local college attitude is a factor that can help us in the decision making process. i find it astonishing how much that attitude seems to vary around the country.