Education is incredibly important, opening our minds, creating possibilities and empowering us with knowledge.
Education is often seen as being synonymous with school, but it’s not. It’s a life-long process that encompasses so much more. School does have many benefits, but with it also comes huge problems.
School is based on an outdated model of education, created after the workhouse era. At the very least it’s a way of getting a standardised education stamp on the general populous and it’s still based on a system preparing people for industry.
We have seen huge transformations in so many other areas since the industrial revolution. Human kind has made so many ingenious leaps forward, evolving at an awesome pace.
But school seems to have got left behind.
International Youth Day this year is focusing on #TransformingEducation. For me, this transformation is about making education much more person centred and inclusive for everyone.
What standardised tests fail to cater for are the very qualities that not only fuel our successes, but allow us to live happy and healthy lives. The thing is, delivering exceptional results is much easier when we do it as the best versions of ourselves.
I’ve benefitted from experiencing different modes of education, having been flexi-schooled, full-time schooled and educated otherwise. I’ve been home educated for almost two years now which really suits me. Having the flexibility and individuality to learn what I want when I want, to be more child led and focus on my character development has seen me grow and develop much better and quicker. And it’s given me the time and freedom to create opportunities that would not otherwise be possible, like writing Be Your Best Self, acting, swimming and piano.
Every person is unique and special in their own right – and it’s really important that we explore this.
We are all brilliant at many things, we have different interests and learn at different paces. Being bracketed off with 30 other children based only on our age and postcode squashes this individuality because there is no way it can cater to everybody’s needs. It is not fair to compare children against a national measurement that doesn’t reflect the wonderful traits and characteristics that make us the amazing, individual people we are.
In our book, we write about the importance of being our own best friend. I believe that we should first learn to love ourselves and know ourselves before forming relationships with other people. The most important (and longest!) relationship we will ever have is with ourselves. We are all worthy, lovable and deserving and this is the most critical relationship and love guidance.
And as for the curriculum?
I want to learn about volcanoes. I want to understand our world geography, the ways of our globe and climate change before I start to study meerkats. I want to know how to be resilient and develop peace of mind through yoga and meditation, which is really important in our digital 5G world. I want to become exceptional at the things that matter the most to me, like public speaking, entrepreneurship, my career as an author and music. I want to learn languages that aren’t taught on the national curriculum, like Latin and Mandarin Chinese. I want to surround myself more with nature, which has been proven to improve our IQ and wellbeing.
And through home education I can.
Home education allows me to develop as a whole person. To actualize in an organic, healthy way close to the people that love me, not in a way or pace that somebody else has set for me based on a national average. I can explore myself. I can follow my own interests and goals and develop the emotional intelligence to help me get there. I can work on building positive self-esteem – something that isn’t found in pitting children against each other on the Star Charts of shame and praise.
I work because I want to get better and be the best version of myself, not because I am told I have to. I learn because I am genuinely interested in the subjects that I and my tutors have chosen for me to learn about, and I understand why it’s important for me to study the areas that I’m not so keen on doing. This is not about ticking a box.
I’m not saying that school doesn’t have a place, but because it’s geared up as a “one size fits all” it feels like a padlocked box with so many constraints.
Regardless of how you are educated, it’s really important to keep a passion for learning. One thing I’ve learned is that in any mode of education it’s essential to become educated in the art of being your best self. That’s what’s going to get you through life, and be a catalyst for success.
And that’s what we’ve written a book on.
The most important thing in anybody’s learning journey is the person. Transforming mainstream education to something more person centred won’t be easy, but there are many things we can choose to work on to help us become the best we can be. Learning to be our best selves drives us forward in such a positive way, ensuring our long-term happiness as well as properly preparing us for the world around us.
Be Your Best Self is being released in September.
Written by Danielle Brown MBE and Nathan Kai, this exciting new book for children is a recipe for success, happiness and esteem. It’s a comprehensive framework that encourages children to raise their aspirations and turn exciting dreams into a reality. It’s a thought provoking career tool, a vital people skills asset, a modern day confidence builder, an engaging life-hack, and it empowers children to make the most of – and create– opportunities to lead bright and successful futures.
Positive and practical, Be Your Best Self empowers children to be happy, be confident and become the best versions of themselves.