I’m so uplifted by the messages I receive from readers telling me how helpful they find the stuff I write for the home education community. I’m thrilled to know that!
As well as those appreciative posts I also receive appeals for help and advice, mostly from parents wanting to home school but not quite having the courage without a guarantee it’ll all be all right.
A little bit of reassurance, plus the knowledge that many are now graduating from home education as competent, intelligent adults, is usually all they need. And it is only reassurance I can offer. For there really are no guarantees. No guarantees it will work for you.
But look at it this way; there are no guarantees that school will work out either. Just as there are no guarantees any style of parenting will work. Or any lifestyle will be right for you – and home educating is as much a lifestyle as a style of learning, since it becomes so integrated with life.
So what we have to do is be brave enough without guarantees. And put in what’s needed to give home education your best shot at making it work for you.
The best tips I can offer for that are:
- Forget guarantees and listen to your intuition. If home educating or a style of learning feels intuitively right for you and your family it probably is.
- Make up your mind (as you learn) about what education is, more broadly speaking, what it’s for, what you want of it – or rather – what you want your children to get from it. That influences the way you all approach it.
- Look to the now. Take each day as it comes. Your child will grow and change. Your home educating will grow and change. This is natural and normal and requires you to remain open minded.
- Learn from others. Observe what they’re doing. Remain responsive to ideas but be prepared to flex or adapt them for your use. Don’t stay stuck. We’re so used to systemised thinking keeping us stuck we forget we have enormous flexibility with home ed – a chance to do things differently.
- Nurture your relationship with your children through respect. Respect is a two way thing (unless you’re in school). Use it to build a workable and happy learning experience. Happy kids learn best. Demonstrate respect to them, expect it from them. Do that through the way you behave.
- Keep talking it through with the kids. Youngsters can be part of the decision making, require explanations, can take charge – if you can back off!
- Keep it light though. It’s not law that educating should be burdensome. it should be joyous. It’s there to enhance life remember!
You cannot guarantee outcomes. But you can guarantee that you’ll do the best you can to facilitate your child’s learning experience. And make it a happy one. Obviously it won’t be enjoyable all the time – life’s not like that. But I assume you’re fairly certain that it will be a more enjoyable one then they’ll receive elsewhere!
There’s lots more tips and support in my Home Education Notebook which covers all the questions people ask when they home educate – both at the start and longer term. For a lighter read try ‘A Funny Kind of Education’ which is the story of our own home schooling life with tips and suggestions thrown in. It’s had some fab reviews! And if you’re still stuck making the decision try my ‘Learning Without School Home Education‘ which answers the usual queries. See the My Books page for more details.