I have two sons. I am their biggest advocate when it comes to their education. As a nomadic family you have to be. With moving frequently my eldest son at eight years old has been home educated and has gone to five different schools in three states in the US and two countries. For me as a mum the biggest challenge facing my kids and education is just making sure my kids are not being held back from their potential. I look at the spelling lists, the math work, and the lack of homework my sons have in the UK and I see how behind it is from schools my son attended in the US. My eldest went to an accelerated learning school for first grade and was doing algebraic equations for his math level. That school worked with kids with what level they were at individually and did not hold them back or push them forward for the group. It opened my eyes to the potential kids at young ages have to learn. My first grader here in England came home this week with spelling words that included: go, to, and we. I have my son reading chapter books at home and he helps in reading paragraphs aloud in Harry Potter with us as a family. Not to mention I am certain the spelling words I worked with him on in home education a year ago were much harder. It can be really frustrating as a parent especially as in the expat life and dealing with cultural differences. Our solution so far is to do as much home education as we can in our free time on top of everything they are learning at school. We have talked about revisiting the plan of home education full time at home if things do not progress at school. This is my personal story with education and raising boys. What does it mean for the girls of our world?
I am glad that we are highly involved in our boys’ education and that we did not let the in-laws hostility towards home education ruin our plans to continue with it. However not all children all over the world even have the luxury of freedom to go to school. There are people who think girls should not get an education. Those who say ‘what is the point when they are not going to get a job’. These girls face the challenges of distance, poverty, and child marriage. Instead of families advocating for their daughters education, there are girls who are banned from going to school and beaten for attending. Girls can be harassed by the community on their way to school. Dreams of girls continuing their education become dashed when forced into child marriages where taking care of the family replace their role of a student.
There are people standing up for change. Like Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl who is an activist and blogger standing up for education and women’s rights. She was shot in the head and the neck a year ago ‘in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen while returning home on a school bus’. This past friday Malala was at Harvard to accept the 2013 Peter J Gomes humanitarian reward. You can read Malala Yousafzai’s blog here.
To read Malala’s blog: http://www.malala-yousafzai.com/