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Lessons from Life Without School: 3 principles for ASYE's


When I tell people I home educate, they usually say ‘wow that must be really hard’ or ‘I couldn’t do that’.


Most of the time this comes from the assumption that I try to replicate traditional education at home. That would be hard work which I why I don't do it. And why I prefer to call it life without school.


I'm still very much new to this journey with my children, and like a newly qualified social worker I am learning, unlearning and making mistakes.


I wanted to share 3 principles that I follow which carry me through each day, and how you can adapt them in your social work practice.


  1. I don’t force anything


Yes, it’s unbelievably hard for me as someone who has the traditions of the school system embedded in me. I'm a recovering people pleasing over achiever (older siblings - are you with me?!) so this is my biggest daily challenge.

Day to day, this looks like learning to read but not to write. They don't want to sit down with a pencil yet, and as hard as it is I won't force it. I have to trust that they will do it in their own time.


2. I follow their interests 


Does it mean that everything currently relates back to dinosaurs- yes. But dinosaurs right now are our means of connection. I want them to know I care about the things they care about. Ask me anything about dinosaurs.. go on I dare you.


3. I prioritise play


This does feel easier at times because I have 2 children. But if they are playing, in flow, completely caught up in whatever imaginary world they have created, I do my best not to interrupt or divert the activity.



The thing is, you don’t need to home educate to bring these principles into your life.


You don’t even need to use these principles solely with children. Adults need play too.


And if you are starting in social work, I think one or all of these 3 principles will help you.


Here are some practical and tangible ways these principles can show up in your social work practice. Ideas that are simple and easy to implement from tomorrow coming up....


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