Today we took part in a focus group at Manchester Museum along with 6 other home educating families. I wanted to share this with you because it was a positive experience.
It can be easy to feel annexed by large institutions who seemingly favour school groups within their education provision. Just getting hold of a person willing to discuss a home education visit can be difficult because sometimes there isn’t anyone at the venue with any experience of home education. You can be easily fobbed off with platitudes and promises of ‘we will be in touch soon’. It doesn’t happen as often anymore because home education is more accepted – there are simply more of us. It does still happen though as I have learnt from experience.
What does often tend to be true is that the only events available are those which sit within the national curriculum framework. There are very few places that will offer a workshop based on anything other than the Victorians, Roman Britain or Living Things and Their Habitats to name but a few. These are wonderful but because every institution is focused on these areas the market is saturated.
This is why today’s meeting was invaluable. As a group we were able to explain these issues and make suggestions. These suggestions were met with enthusiasm because they realise that their current offer isn’t perfectly suited to home educators. The outcome is that over the next few months a new outline for working with home educators will be drawn up. This will likely include workshops based on topics outside of the National Curriculum which will use some of the previously unloved exhibits in the museum. It is an exciting prospect.
The opportunity to discuss the needs of our children and optimise learning opportunities for them at somewhere as fantastic as Manchester Museum can only be beneficial for the community. I sincerely hope that other institutions take note of this positive step by the museum to reach out to our section of the community.