With lots of people receiving offers for their child’s school place recently. We’ve had some questions about home education. I’m always always happy to answer these, but thought that some people might want more info on home ed and a blog is probably the best way to do this!
Do you have to follow the curriculum?
Nope! In fact this is one of the (if not the) best things about home education. You do not need to follow the curriculum. Most British home educators take full advantage of this and teach what their kids are interested in, or ‘unschool’. The meaning of which varies depending on who you ask, but this means not having any kind of classroom environment at home, the children learn through life and learn through play. I suppose we would be classed as unschoolers at the mo. We’re just doing whatever fits us all best at the time.
What about socialisation?!?
It’s a strange misconception that children socialise at school. Children don’t get to choose where they sit at school, they could end up sitting beside someone they can’t stand. At “playtime” they get about 10 minutes of socialisation. They have “friends” sure, but they aren’t made because of school. Often these friends are just made because they are there. It’s great if children can make real friends in these circumstances, but they have just as many opportunities to make friends when home educated. We have groups and classes for pretty much everything dedicated to home educated children. And of course they socialise with schooled children too at after school or weekend classes!
But they need to be with horrible bullies to build character…
So this really was said to me. I didn’t actually have an answer at the time because I was that taken aback. Bullying does not build character, being broken down does not make people stronger. Sure they may eventually bounce back from said awful thing, but they’re not better off for having awful things happen to them. No one is glad for trauma they have experienced.
What about when they go into the real world?
They’re already in the real world. Every single day, we have time to teach cooking, cleaning, managing finances etc… They will come into contact with all types of people every single day. All ages, all circumstances… You get it. They’re already in the real world!
I’m just not clever enough.
Is that mentality learned from your school experience? In this day and age you have the world at your fingertips. You can learn ANYTHING!! This is the best time ever to home educate your kids. But the likelihood is your child will learn stuff all by themselves, children have a natural curiosity and love of learning and they also have the world at their fingertips!
How do you find the time?
The truth is, unless you’re lucky enough to be able to afford to live on one income, this is a real struggle for home educators. Juggling your time when your kids are 100% in your care is very hard. But we have come to the realisation that if this is what we want then something has to give. We can’t do everything, and sometimes we just have to say no to things. Our priorities are just a bit different.
How do you work?
This one is different for every home educator, and this was the main one I was concerned with when we first started out. I really struggled to find answers to this, so I’m looking at writing a separate blog post on how home educators survive financially! So our plan is that Liam will get a part time job and hopefully an online teaching job while I work full time. Grandparents will be utilised as much as possible, but we’re hoping to do lots of travelling, so hopefully we can both eventually have jobs where we can work and travel at the same time!
[Insert child’s name here] is just ready… each to their own…
This is a bizarre uninvited justification for something that never needed justified. Home Educators are not judging you for sending your child to school, nor does it mean that they feel their child “isn’t ready” or just doesn’t suit a school environment. They are just doing it differently. The same as anything else you do in life. Do you justify why you don’t do the same job as anyone else everyday? Do you justify why you’re having a different meal to everyone else everyday? I don’t understand at all why people respond with this other than they feel attacked by the way that someone else parents. Can we just get along with people that do things differently? Home Educators are not attacking your way of life.
Don’t you worry you’re depriving them of the experience?
I feel we can offer everything school does and more!!
Will you ever send then to school? No
But what if they ask?
This is almost an insult haha. Like my kid will hate home education so much or we’ll be so bad at it they’ll want to go to school. Anyway, if our kids request to go to school then of course we’ll talk about it properly and if they’re still sure they want to, we can definitely give it a go. At such a young age I am ok with making decisions for my child, this will change in time.
Why do you hate teachers/school so much? Not everyone has a bad experience of school.
A huge huge amount of home educators are teachers or work in schools. It just isn’t true that home educators hate teachers (well some of them do… But you get people with prejudices in every walk of life), if anything, most home educators empathise with teachers’ struggles. It’s also a huge presumption that all home educators hated school and that’s why they’re home educating. It’s simply not true. I didn’t have a great time at school (I just found secondary boring), but nothing was awful about it. In fact I loved primary school.
I still don’t think it’s ok.
It is absolutely fine to think whatever you like. But just don’t be rude. Not for you? That’s fine. As long as my kids are happy and healthy and getting the opportunity to have an ‘appropriate’ education that’s all that should matter surely?