Home education is becoming more popular with many families taking their children out of school or not sending them in the first place. Celebrities like Stacey Solomon and Nadia Sawahla have talked about their decisions to home educate their children and some BritMums members have home education blogs or talk about home education from time to time. Here, Kate Davis-Holmes from the Kate On Thin Ice blog talks about her experience of home education.
Parents choose home education for different reasons. I took my daughter out of school after she was bullied. Visits to the school did not move things forward. When your daughter is full of self-loathing and threatening self-harm, you have to take action. Once she left school her younger brother quickly joined us on our home education journey. My other son remained in school and completed his GCSEs last year.
Although home education is talked about more, it remains mysterious and sometimes scary to those who do not have experience of it. In this article, I will share some of the key benefits of educating your children at home.
1. Mental wellbeing
We all want our children to be happy. So many home-educating parents including myself breathe a sigh of relief as they see their children liberated from the pressure they can face in school including bullying and testing. It is heart-breaking to see your child full of stress and anxiety. I saw my daughter become happy again in a matter of weeks once I took her out of school.
2. Diverse curriculum
Home-educating families are not restricted by the time and resource constraints of schools. Learning takes place in the home but also in the community. Many home educators team up for regular meetings and special events. There is a myth out there that home-educated children do not socialise when most have very full lives socialising with people of different ages and backgrounds. Home education can easily incorporate important life skills such as First Aid, pet care, cookery and money management. Home education is what you make it so you have lots of freedom and flexibility.
3. Learning together
There is a real joy in learning together. Sometimes I cover things with the children that I already know but so often I learn new things myself. There is also a pleasure in learning from them. Home education is a family adventure. I hope that by showing them I genuinely love learning, I will encourage them to be lifelong learners. It is lovely to snuggle up and giggle together whilst taking on new information and skills. Childhood and life itself is short and I love making magical memories with my children and seeing their special moments.
4. Tailored to the individual child
SEND issues are sometimes what leads families to home educate. I would argue that every child has individual needs and home education allows you to work with that individuality in a way that is harder in large classes at school. You can go at the child’s own pace. If they find something easy, you can move on and spend longer on the topics where they struggle. If you child shows a particular passion for something, you can harness that meaning they are so engaged with their learning.
Home education does come with its challenges but there is so much support out there for the days where you might wobble a bit about your decision. In an age where we can access information so easily, I want to ensure I put an emphasis on skills and values for my children. Right now they are happy, confident and keen learners and that will do for me.