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'School Is a Building, Education Is Wherever I Am'

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My kids all go to school. They go to a building each day dressed in their uniforms for a set amount of time, the same each day. They do the same lessons on the same days with the same teacher, each day. Just like I did, in my school uniform, in my school building, decades ago. If they way that they're taught a subject, or the pace, doesn't work for them, well, tough.

That's the case for most kids in our part of the world. Most, but not all. Some don't go to school AT ALL. And that's cool.

When we started Quib.ly we had some hunches about which would be our most popular topics, and which subjects would frequently crop up. There have been some surprises (I underestimated just how deep the love for Minecraft ran) but mostly our hunches were proven right. That education would prove one of the most popular topics on Quib.ly was not a surprise. But the depth of interest in home education was.

When I was younger, people who were home educated - not that I knew any - were in the same bucket as those odd balls without a telly. Of course now my family barely watches any broadcast TV and we're far from alone. Similarly, I'm fully converted to the concept that home education is not the preserve of weirdos and the extremely religious. It's for everyone, if they want.

We asked four home educating bloggers to join us for a Twitter chat on Thursday 20 June, and we asked them to invite their friends and followers. We did the same. We didn't go mad on promoting it, a Facebook event, some blog posts and a few tweets. We were flooded.

We set out to bust some myths and share some information. I prepared for a few mean-spirited ignorant questions. There were none. When has Twitter ever failed to surface the mean-spirited? But they didn't show. That in itself is heartening.

Who did show? People currently home educating - mums and dads, people curious about home educating - mums and dads, people who are married to people who were home-educated (and were pleased to report their spouses are not nuts), and those with kids yet to reach school age who were genuinely concerned about the rigidity of formal schooling.

I will save the full 'report' of the chat for another post (like I say, we were flooded, it's taking me two days to Storify the thing and I'm still not done) but the main take away was this: education is not about a building, it's about a journey. It's about trying, exploring, asking questions, it's about growing as a person and finding your passions. It's about building skills (and not just ABC and 123) and applying them. And shouldn't we all be doing the above, every day? If we see education as a process that happens between the ages of four and 21, in a series of classrooms, we're missing out on the joys of lifelong learning. Seems like home educators have that right to me.

Thanks to home educator Jax who blogs at Live Otherwise for the headline quote.