New to Home Educating?

I saw in the news just before Christmas this report about the increase in the numbers of parents dissatisfied with schooling and now choosing to home educate instead.

It’s popularity grows with the rising number of success stories from home educated children graduating into work or higher education. Plus the opportunity to network and find support online.

But starting out it looks to be a bit of maze, so if you’re feeling like that I’m going to post a series of articles over the next few weeks that might help. Here’s some ideas just to start with

  1. Relax! Learning doesn’t have to be stressful, intense, every minute of every day, or approached like you were going down the mines for a day! Education is an enjoyable and uplifting journey of self-development. I wonder how many kids know that with all the totally unnecessary pressures they’re put under. I wonder if you approach it that way!
  2. Give yourself time to adjust, to research and connect with others and discover what they’re doing. Proceed gently.
  3. There need be no limit on learning! You don’t have to stick to pre-determined ages or stages to learn things or do it at the same rate as others.
  4. Be prepared to open your mind and take on board other approaches to learning besides the school style – there are all sorts of ways to learn; playing, surfing the net, online activities (see BBC Learning sites and YouTube tutorials), creative activities, visiting galleries, museums, nature reserves, historical sites, sports centres, meeting others etc.
  5. Don’t be afraid to copy what others are doing until you find how you want to proceed.
  6. Don’t fret about ‘timing’. Schools have to keep the children busy from nine till four. This doesn’t mean they’re learning from nine to four or productively engaged. Children learning at home have far more time to follow their own pursuits which can be equally educative.
  7. Experiment with the way – and the time – your child learns best. Experiencing something, practical and physical activities, educate as successfully as studying something second hand.
  8. Keep your child’s needs as your priority – and don’t worry what others are doing. Just because you may not be doing the same as others does not mean it’s any less effective.
  9. Forget testing. Testing is not necessary for the educational enhancement of the child. It is simply a tool adults use – its purpose more often than not based in the destructive practice of one-up-man-ship.
  10. Remember that, unlike school, home educating is completely flexible – you can plan, change plans, review often, adopt new approaches and discard approaches that don’t work for you. That flexibility – which you can adjust to suit your circumstances thus making education tailor made – is what makes home education so brilliant and successful. A facility that schools sadly just don’t cover

So go ahead and enjoy your education – its purpose is to help enhance the lives and opportunities of young people. Home education gives you the best opportunity to fulfil that brief!

(For more tips check out my book ‘Learning Without School’ Details on the Books page or pop back for more here)



3 thoughts on “New to Home Educating?

  1. Hi Jacqui, lovely to hear that your daughter is so much more relaxed – just need you to be too now! 😉 The issue you described is common to everyone – we all do lots of fabulous things with the kids which are so educative, but rarely have a recognisable wad of paper to show for it. Don’t worry – a wad of paper is not usually what LA visitors need to see – not the more enlightened ones anyway. Parents find a variety of ways in which to record their activities, often keeping a diary of events for themselves, records of conversations, photos as you have, lists – whatever serves to remind them of what they’ve done. This way they can talk about it with the officer and for most a conversation about activities is all that’s needed. Other families don’t allow visits to their homes but submit a ‘report’ of their own writing outlining their activities, conversations, visits etc. So although there is nothing concrete to ‘show’, there is clearly plenty been covered. As you say you know plenty has been learned – if you can talk about it confidently then this is evidence enough for most LAs. It might help if you got in contact with someone in your area to see what they’ve done too. Hope this helps.

  2. Hiya Ross,just a concern I have regards collecting evidence for the LA.I wrote to you recently and have just started out with my 14 year old daughter(who by the way is happier and more relaxed by the day)it is me that is getting anxious.
    Anyway at Katie’s request we made a start on some structured learning last week, we have been working through functional skills maths,reading a Sherlock Holmes novel for English,we have baked ,Katie’s Dad has loaned her his Nikon camera so we went into the local park so she could try it out.Katie has spent lots of time practicing on her Ukulele,she really enjoys this and we have bought a basic Japanese workbook as she wants to learn some of the language.
    My problem is this,when I look back on the week we seem to have covered a lot, but when it comes to being able to show this apart from maths work and a couple of photo’s of cake and katie in the park.I have tried to encourage katie to write stuff down but she doesn’t see the point and therefore is reluctant to do so, I can understand this and am know that she is still learning,but when it comes to visit from LA in a few months time how do I prove this? I have freed up most weekdays to spend with Katie and have spent lots of time working alongside her as I want her to feel supported.Please could you give me a bit of advice ,it would be much appreciated.

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