My letter to education...

Written by: Billy Moore | Published:
Student of the world: Billy Moore

My name is Billy Moore. I am 16-years-old and for the past eight years I have been home educated. This is my letter to education...

I have often felt the need to justify “why” I have been a home-schooled student of the world for the past eight years of my life.

I believe that as a society we are more than happy to question the unconventional, the people who take the path less travelled.

This path carries uncertainty and most definitely isn’t covered by the “insurance of security”. I have experienced this first-hand – questioning the minorities instead of the masses, we’re taught to conform and then to exclude those who don’t conform.

I want to redefine a word that is commonly misused and over-looked – “education”. In fact I am correcting the definition, bringing it back to where it was born. I believe that the word has been lost in translation over many years now.

So why do I feel the need to “correct” the definition of education? Imagine an infinite conveyor belt on which a great source of consistent and reliable workers are produced, with perfectly enhanced fixed mind-sets.

I am positive that anyone reading this piece would whole-heartedly agree that this wouldn’t be the goal of an education system and its curriculum.

My definition of the word education would more likely involve a series of experiences, throughout the journey of life – experience being the greatest teacher of all, bar none.

In fact, I do not class myself as being a “home-educated” student, I am a student of the world. I am the youngest of four, in a family of six. We are all very close in age, from the eldest at 21 to little old me at 16. And we’ve all been “unconventionally educated”.

Our curriculum consists of many different forms and methods of teaching. At the top of the priority list was always experience – to learn, to understand and to grow. And it is not just about intellect, but also emotional intelligence.

Creative freedom – this encapsulates all the generic subjects you might be a little more familiar with, but of course we opted out of using any formal forms of curriculum-based learning.

Any passions toward a certain topic, in any genre of life, provided the guidelines for our “curriculum”. By doing this it meant our lives and levels of relevant knowledge were constantly evolving and developing.

Travelling was also on the priority list as Mohammed says: “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you travelled.”

Collectively as a family we are well travelled. The places we have been and the experiences we have had have given us all a great understanding of the world and the beauty of culture.

For the past three summers my brother and I have left England in early June to attend a seven-week summer camp of which we were the first English campers in a rich 100-year history.

We both learnt to live in cohesion with people from all corners of the world. From this we now have connections across the globe.

People’s questions about life as a home-educated student are always the same – from since I left school at the end of year 3.

One common query is: “What about social life? How do you have friends and make new ones?”

What I’ve learnt from that question over the years is that most people are more concerned about relationships than they are about education. This demonstrates to me that at the core of everybody’s lives are people and their relationships.

From the time I left school, my already moulded and disillusioned perspective on the world started to change. I once felt boundaries between adults and myself, gradually this mind-set changed.

My opinions were never told to be wrong. I was just shown other points of view. My intellect was never categorised or graded. Any genre of conversation was always suitable and all voices would be heard. There has been no standardised testing and we have disregarded the one hat fits all approach that can so often be found as an underlying methodology in the formal education system.

But I must add that it was not a utopia nor is it now. When I reminisce over the past eight years of independent education, there have most definitely been moments when we didn’t know the path, but our moral and core beliefs in what we were doing (and our belief that it was the right thing for us) held firm.

The reason I do not like to use the term “home-educated” is because it implies I was confined to the four walls of my home, but in fact it is quite the opposite.

I have been freed from the confinement of the school system. My infinite education is only confined by the finite span of my life.

The lyrics from John Lennon’s song Working Class Hero come to mind as I write this.

“By giving you no time instead of it all.”

I propose that we flip the switch, redirect the current of the river which has flowed in one direction for far too long.

Let’s question secondary education and our curriculum. Too often, the school system creates workers instead of entrepreneurial styles of thinking. The gift that home education has offered me is “perspective”, and not just any perspective. It is a unique perspective that only a tiny minority of students can bring to the world.

And so I no longer feel that justification for my home education is required.

As Albert Einstein once said: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”


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