We have been home educating 21 months now. But, the decision to home educate didn’t come easily. I suppose the main concerns we had were where we capable of doing it? And, were we going to cope with having no child free time! Although once we realised that if it didn’t work you can always put a child back in school again, we decided we had nothing to lose?
One main thing that made it right for us was the flexibility. I’m self-employed so I can work around the children most of the time by working in the evenings or early in the morning before they get up. Being self-employed is also a perfect opportunity for the children to learn about running a business and more importantly keeping accounts. If both parents need to work then home education would, I feel, be very difficult.
I like the fact that we can go on days out during the week in term time when it’s a lot quieter (I don’t like crowds) and you can get some really good prices for flights out of season. I see a trip to Sweden coming soon 😃. I also like that we can go at each child’s pace and if they don’t understand something then we go over it again. If that still doesn’t work we try a different method which is something schools don’t have the time to do.
Because one-to-one, or one-to-two in our case, is much more effective, the whole school day (around 6 hours) can be condensed into 2 hours maximum. This leaves so much free time for the children to do what they are interested in. It’s also easier for the children to say if they don’t understand something as they aren’t ridiculed in front of their friends. I’ve also found that the eldest seems to like (sometimes anyway) going through work with her younger sister and they have even worked on projects together despite a 2 1/2 year age gap.
The amount of testing they do on children these days (sorry making them sound like lab rats…) is too much for many children, mine included. Seeing a child coming home deflated because they only got 90% in a test (yes really) and made to feel like a failure because of this was too much. I don’t normally tell them actual ‘scores’ on the rare occasion I do test them, all I will say is you passed or you did really well, and that’s all the child needs to know.
The local home education groups have been fantastic for the children when it comes to new activities. They have tried several things that have been arranged at a discount price due to the number of children taking part. The horse riding lesson was a favourite and they enjoyed screen printing their own t-shirts. We visited the theatre for the first time last year and the eldest even spent 2 days in a local university studying animals. A new activity is parkour which they both love. None of these would have been possible without the home education. Neither would getting up at 2.30 am to see a lunar eclipse on a school day!
From my point of view I now don’t have to iron the school uniforms and mornings are a lot more peaceful as we don’t have to rush to get the children out of the house in time to get to school. Also illnesses and colds have been minimal since they have been out of the school environment. But the big thing is head lice!!! Since both children came out of school no head lice, not even a single one. I think that alone would stop me ever putting them back!
Since I started to home educate my brain has (I think) started to work again. Long since forgotten maths formulas have come back, OK sometimes google has helped, but my brain is actually working again.
I think having the children at home can be really tiring and you can feel very lonely at times. But it’s also making me closer to the children and we are (hopefully) going to be passing on skills to the children that will set them up for life. I think home education is totally worth trying if the school system doesn’t suit your child.