Read the real truth about home educating

There are still so many misconceptions about home education so I thought it was worth another airing as some might find it reassuring. And often over school holidays there’s renewed interest in this alternative educational option:

You can feel people’s resistance come up like a prickly shield when you mention home education. It seems to provoke the same fear as if you’d suggested jumping off Big Ben – ‘couldn’t possibly do that’!

Which is actually where many home educating families start too, but they’re forced to move from a position of ‘couldn’t possibly do that’ to ‘we’ve got to do something’. Because despite the government conveniently labelling home education as ‘elective’, for most parents it isn’t. Many parents they are forced into trying anything to save their children from dire circumstances in school, both personal and academic.

Most home educating families are just ordinary families trying to do the best for their kids. Most are not elite, or alternative, extremist or ignorant. But the government obviously thinks we need watching because they’re desperate to collect us all on a register and confine us within the same school-style boundaries and systems that made us home educate in the first place. And they do it because of fear. Because of the same outdated ignorance many folks have towards a learning style that thousands of families are now finding extremely successful.

I’m hoping that some of this ignorance will be eradicated. It needs to be because many children need the choice of this alternative to school. For some, home educating changes academic failure into success. It changes nil self-esteem into confidence. And in some desperate cases it probably even saves lives.

Learning can occur in a myriad of different ways not just the way they do it in school. It’s about time the success and value of home education was recognised. It’s about time ignorance was replaced with some of the true facts. Facts like:

  • Home educated children achieve good grades like other children do. They go to university, college, or into work or businesses like other children do. Their academic, social and personal skills are reputed to be in front of those of their school peers.
  • Home educated children are not isolated or invisible. Most interact with a wide range of people, in a wide range of places, doing a broad range of activities. Some have far more life experience than those children in school. Most have mature social skills.
  • Thousands of families turn to home education because schools fail to provide for their children’s needs, both academic and personal. In some cases this has been a life line for children who’ve suffered in school the kind of abuse that just would not be tolerated by adults in a workplace. Home educators are the parents who take initiative to do something about their children’s suffering rather than just ignoring it.
  • Children who have been written off by the educational system or labelled as having ‘learning difficulties’ or ‘special needs’, for example, have gone on to achieve a good academic standard through home education.
  • Home educating families are as ordinary as any other families who have the same ordinary aspirations for their children to achieve and be happy. They come from all ranges of the social, educational, financial and cultural backgrounds that make up our society.
  • Home educated children usually achieve the same outcomes, if not better, than children in schools.
  • Contrary to what most parents think, children learn in a multitude of different ways, not just in the conveyor belt style of the educational system. Home educating gives children the opportunity to learn in the way that suits them best, increasing their chances of success. This doesn’t necessarily mean academic cramming. It means acknowledgement of the myriad of alternative approaches there are to learning, to opportunities, to qualifications, to being educated, and making best use of them.
  • In my experience as a home educator within a wide network of other home educators, and whilst researching for my books, I have never come across an incidence of abuse. However I saw plenty of cases of abuse when I worked in schools.

Feel free to share around as much as possible, most particularly to those who continue to lack understanding!

And to see how it works at family level, check out my home schooling books.


3 thoughts on “Read the real truth about home educating

  1. Pingback: New to Home Education? It’s worth a look… | Ross Mountney's Notebook

  2. Thank you for this post. My husband and I were verbally attacked by some family members when we had to pull our children out of the public school system. It was crazy how angry even our closes friends and family were at us when we had no other choice but to get our children away from bullying teachers. My son was non-verbal and I had to do my own research to learn how to reach him.

    I made two communication books for him using PECS cards. One stayed home and the other went to school with him everyday. The public school never taught me about this, in fact they rarely encouraged the use of the books.

    Those little simple picture cards helped me teach him to speak, read and write just by communication alone. I was trained in ABA therapy through a non-profit organization as well.

    I registered my kids in non special needs classes through the cities park programs to expose my kids to non-special needs children and their play skills. Children learn by play and mimicking their peers. How was my child going to learn how to speak in a class that was only non-verbal children. He needed exposures to everyday life situations.

    I could write a novel with this comment so I will end it with this…my son is in college now. He got straight A’s this semester in classes like Biology and Math, which I was horrible at. This summer he says he wants to look into anatomy.

    When my husband and I see both our children and all that they have accomplished we remember those days when we heard cruel comments about my little boy by the professionals that were suppose to help him.

    Comments like ” Isn’t there a room you can just stick him in” when he was having a melt down because he couldn’t verbally tell anyone what he was frightened of. Or my favorite “Why bother, he won’t do it anyway” when an aide went to gather the other children to paint and create.

    That one was sad for me to hear and witness the day I volunteered in the classroom to help show the teachers the special training I received to work with my son. I walked up to my little boy while he stood standing in a corner and took a paint brush and moved it in front of him and said “Paint” one simple word and he followed me over to the easel and started painting.

    Art was something he loved at home. He would go on to win several county and state awards for his art when we pulled him out of school and even sold pieces.

    If I would have left my children in the public school system they I believe in my heart would have ended up a mess. I know my son would still be non-verbal if I would have left that up to them to be his mentors and teachers. So thank you again for these encouraging words for anyone else that decides to Home school. It isn’t easy but the outcome is always good. Have a wonderful day.

    • Thank you so much, both for being here and taking the time to share your story – it is extremely uplifting and lovely to read of your success through home schooling. All best wishes!

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