Home education seems to be a topic that comes up again and again, with more and more people doing it. Note it isn’t referred to as home schooling as actually the point generally is that schooling isn’t beneficial for children and it is more about providing the right education for the individual child or children.
Reasons for Considering Home Education
There are many reasons people come to decide to home educate – although not all of them seem to have much choice. From not enough school places, to bullying, anxiety, to not agreeing with the system and so on. Some never send their children to school in the first place, some pull them out, and some even go back in. School is an opt in choice and can be done at any age.
I myself have been toying with home educating my youngest two boys more and more. They both have very different needs that I am unsure the school education system in primary school is able to provide them with. One is very bright and, I feel, held back by the new curriculum. The fact that children don’t seem to be set by ability and are just lumped together all trying to learn the same thing at the same time. My son told me that he has to sit tests that last for 20 minutes and he spends 15 of those minutes just sitting there bored because he has finished.
I guess I am not in the classroom to judge – but from what I see there’s a lot of behaviour issues to deal with and the bright ones who want to learn aren’t getting to learn as much as they would like to. Plus not all teachers or the teaching assistants are able to teach at what I would consider a good level (for instance there was a supply teacher who my son told me the class corrected them on their use of there, their and they’re!)
Then my youngest has special needs and Education Health Care Plan (EHCP). Trouble is I do not feel that he is treated as an individual (who has the time and money right) and he works hard and is progressing well. Although again see above about who is teaching him – he’s behind developmentally so it isn’t as easy for him to notice the mistakes he is being taught (such as I have noticed with spelling). I am not happy that they will not listen to me and are ignoring his sensory needs (saying they do not exist even though he is spinning around in front of them!!) But with home education there is a concern that without peers to bench mark himself against he wont have that competitive edge to strive to be the best he can be, and will just compare himself against his brother. I am not happy that the curriculum means that each year group just learn whatever it is for that term and move on. He still can’t tell the time or confidently ride a bike but is doing decimals and fractions – I just feel it is wrong.
I am just not comfortable with so many things that go with school – my children not drinking enough; doing PE in school shoes; being unable to go to the toilet without having to miss playtime the next break; being punished for other people’s behaviour, including being shouted at when they haven’t actually done anything wrong; being forced to read for set amounts of time with books they do not enjoy; I guess I could go on. One of the worst things is not being allowed their individuality. There was an amazing boy who used to be in their class who is very talented in sports and the arts, but does not seem to learn well by just sitting still and doing maths and English – I just don’t feel they found the methods right for him; praised him enough for his talents and generally let him be his awesome self. With my own sons there was an issue with the male teacher who commented so much on my son’s long hair that he ended up getting it cut. He instantly regretted it and regrew it (and the teacher left) but really I do not think this is the right behaviour from a trusted adult.
Then I stop and think about how things could be different if we home educated. All that extra time not having to iron uniform, fill in reading records, trips backwards and forwards to the school and most importantly making learning fun. I can tailor the days to their needs at the time – whether that be their attention being right, sensory needs, and interests. I can see the real benefit of doing a forest school session in the actual forest – as opposed to out in the school playground too.
Making a Decision about Home Education
Making a decision to home educate is a big one which could totally affect the children’s future and therefore it is one that I have put a lot of thought into. I spoke to lots of home educators, enrolled my boys with Maths and English tutors, joined lots of Facebook groups, read blog posts and talked and talked and talked about it.
My biggest concern was what if I failed at it? What if I couldn’t cope with never getting that “break” that school gives; what if I couldn’t get them to learn – and ended up ruining their lives? I suffer with my mental health and often need to nap in the afternoon, as well as finding time for myself and attending events. I would really have to put my children first. And that is what really makes me push for wanting to home educate – because surely putting my children first should be priority! They are only little for such a short while and could actually be really beneficially to their futures.
In the short term if I really couldn’t cope then I could put them back into the education system. The problem with the first son is that we do want him to go back into the system to go to grammar school – what if pulling him out ruined his chances of this? And with the second it may mean he falls behind again and/or we may struggle to get his EHCP reinstated to help him if he needed to go back into the school education system.
The Social Aspect of Home Educating
Contrary to popular belief home education is very social. In fact the opportunities sound great and one of the reasons for Home Education. After joining a few Facebook groups and speaking to people locally it turns out there’s loads of people that do it and they meet up and do great activities together. This keeps costs down as well as giving the social aspect to home education. The best thing is no-one will just be playing up as their parents will be there – or if you do not like a mix you can just stop going and find people you do gel with.
On the other hand he has struggled to make friends and is rarely invited to parties and it’s a worry that he may also struggle with home educated children, when he has finally made some in the school environment. I did read an article about school friends not being real friends, and any that are real will make the effort once the child is being home educated. Also home education would lack that independence away from parents. Our youngest does not have much of that because he cannot play out on his own extra, and would be due to go on PGL next year (although he says he knows and doesn’t want to go anyway, see above re friends though).
Home Education Blog Posts:
- Vicky is also considering Home Education as she questions Why is Education Failing our Kids?
- Martyn has lots to say about Home Education – check out his blog posts including Why he home educates; the advantages; the inspection; the average day; unschooling; planning; different styles and creating a home ed environment.
- Jax from Making it Up has some facts and contacts for those considering Home Education – including those with Special Educational Needs
- One of the big factors for me has got to be the sheer amount of time at school that isn’t about educating the children and is just wasted – which really means you only need to fit an hour a day of home education in to be on the same footing Monkey Mum explains how.
- Monkey and Mouse has a range of home education posts including what it is all about for those like me not quite made their mind up yet
- Renee from Mummy Tries is the first to admit that home educating isn’t all easy but she wouldn’t change things even with Home Educating 3 children
- Family travel with Ellie also looks at Home Education as they set off to embark on World Schooling – a term I have only just come across which means visiting the world whilst learning – how cool is that!!!
- Isablog writes her thoughts about whether to home educate including what her concerns are.
- Kelly Allen Writer talks about the channel 4 documentary Feral Families which covers some of the negativity regarding home education.
- Dad V World explains why Home Education is right for them.
- Country Heart and Home explains why Unschooling was right for them.
- Family Travel with Ellie share their thoughts on Home Education
There are many blog posts showing what their days/months look like and plenty of resources – I will most likely share those at a later date but I wanted this post to be about making the decision to Home Educate.
If you have any opinions, resources or even questions then please do share below.