It’s like a blast from the past; my teenager is sitting here in the room working alongside me.
She, and her sister, used to be here all day every day when we were home educating but they’ve moved on now and she’ll soon be returning to Uni. Now, after years of hankering for a little quiet time to work, I hanker for the energy and laughter they bring back to the house!
Childhoods go so quickly, not that you’d know that when you are immersed in anxiety about them.
I know so many parents are anxious about their child especially when school looms nearer. So I’m blogging to raise awareness of the workable and successful option of home schooling just so you know there is a choice.
I guess many parents would think home educating is too weird to even contemplate. Secretly, I guess we did too. But we discovered we were wrong; it’s far more common than you think and by the time the kids moved on twelve years later it had become our ‘norm’. And the norm for thousands of other families like us.
We hadn’t planned to do it that long, but we just felt we had to do something other than school where the children were becoming increasingly unhappy, unwell and switched off to learning anything. When we home schooled we got our happy, interested, vibrant children back and it just grew from there.
If you think about it, teaching your child things at home is not that weird; it’s something all good parents do. You’ve all done it pre-school – taught them so many things like talking, playing games, using tools and utensils, even writing and reading in some cases. Home educating is really just an extension of that. You can find all the information you need online now – not like when we started pre-web. You can network and find lots of others doing the same – thousands! You can join a whole variety of groups to learn and socialise with. And you discover that there’s this whole parallel universe of parents who are doing the same, who think schools are getting it seriously wrong, who give support and community and share concerns and good bits, who you had no idea existed! Most of all you’ll find parents like you, just wanting to do the best they can for their child.
And you’ll also find that your child can learn without bullying or unnecessary academic pressure or suffering of any kind. They can make friends because they’re liked not just because they own the ‘right’ technology, they socialise across a wide spectrum of ages and interests not just a narrow peer group of people all the same age which, if you think about it, is not the norm out in society. In fact, the more you move away from the school approach the more you realise that it is actually some of the practises in school that are weird – it’s just we’ve all learnt to accept them because they happen to be there.
With home education it becomes the norm to learn, not only at home or in the confines of a classroom, but out in the community with others at museums, libraries, galleries, sports centres, the Natural World, through visits, field trips, workshops and a multitude of practical activities and experiences. And you realise that, just as there’s more than one way to parent, there’s more than one way for a child to learn. And best of all, you can choose a way that suits your child best. You can tailor it to their individual needs – whatever they may be, however ‘special’, whatever their ‘difficulties’. And many parents find some ‘difficulties’ fade away once school is out of the learning equation.
Like with most things, it takes a bit of adjusting to. But then, being a parent did, didn’t it and we managed that or you wouldn’t be reading this; home schooling is just the same. We adjusted so well that ours and many like them end up not going back to school – some never start in the first place.
Colleges and Unis are welcoming home educated kids because they recognise that these kids are generally more articulate, have a broader intelligence, and are more social and self motivated than many of their school counterparts, simply because of this wider approach to their learning.
So, it really can’t be that weird, can it! And it’s certainly better than watching the shine of enthusiasm go out of your child’s eyes.
Check out my books for:
More Info: ‘Learning Without School. Home Education’
Or: the real – and funny – story of what life’s really like when you home educate; ‘A Funny Kind Of Education’
For other information and legalities check out these websites: