People often ask why I home educate my children. I mean, after lockdown when everyone had to do school work at home, people are far better informed about the commitment and effort that it takes. Before that, some people instantly jumped to the conclusion that we stayed in pyjamas all day, eating ice cream for breakfast with no routine (actually, that's not so far from the truth).
The fact of the matter is that I always though there could be a different way to educate my children. Not because I had a bad school experience myself - I was excellent at school, if I do say so myself - and yet as an adult, I floated through careers and jobs with no real passion for anything.
And that passion can't be achieved through simple hard work. It's innate and illuminates your way through life. Exams can be achieved. Even if you do things out of order and double back for qualifications, you can get there. But that destination is intrinsic to your path.
I would always have followed biology as a path. One of the first things I remember becoming absolutely fascinated by were insects, and then later the influenza virus. These were in depth passions that gradually were eroded by exam toil and bad teachers. My teachers was the very reason I refused to take the A Level that would have opened things up for me. And although I went to to do research in microbiology, it followed on from a different path and deviated too far from those interests.
Do I think by home educating my children that I will gift them all the abilities to pursue their passions? All the abilities -clearly not; I already know I will seek other more qualified than myself at times to guide them in things I can't do. But, in a world where learning is unrecognisable to what it was even ten or fifteen years ago, I think what being educated looks like will also evolve. That passion which slipped away from me might be the most important resource they have available to them. In the age of internet, not what they have learnt as much as being motivated to learn and discuss and discriminate will prove to be valuable tools.
Some of our topics over the years