We are just one of an increasing number of home educating families in the UK.
Our two boys are now 15 and 11.
Jack (15) made the decision to try school in Yr 6 having never been previously been. He settled well and is just about to enter final GCSE year. Jack is the social one of the family and bounces about from activity to activity collecting friends around him.
Sam (11) has always been home ed and probably always will be.
Pete is a statistician, works full time and pays the bills, will muck in where he can.
I (Sarah) do most day to day stuff. I do my best to have a life away home ed as it can get a bit lonely and obsessive I love the boys and they are the most important thing in my life but I know at some point I will not be the most important in theirs (may have reached that already) and I need something that will still be there, so I craft, admin a lot of HE groups and run lots of HE activities and I work freelance coming up kids crafts/activities mainly for Activity Village
Why Do We Home-Educate?
Well if you ask me every day for a week you will likely get seven different answers.
One simple answer is I spent 18 months training as a primary school teacher (the career that I had wanted at age 7 and still wanted at 18) before dropping out. In that time I met some good teachers but I also met some terrible teachers. I also know there were people who had applied to be on the teacher training course simply because they knew they could get the grades (I was offered a place if I got two D’s at A’level! Shockingly low expectations). In general I think there are a lot more good teachers than bad out there but having seen bad teachers and schools in action (there is a blog post there one day) I was wary about entrusting my child to them.
National Curriculum! Firstly I am very sceptical about the need for one in the first place but I really object to the influence on politics on what is taught (and how it is taught) in schools. Read the news and every week there is a call for something to be added to the curriculum or one change or another. The scope is not there to allow teachers to adapt to the needs of individuals. Some get left behind as the pace is too quick, some are left feeling bored and constrained. And if they are sick they can miss something and never cover it again. I want my children to have the freedom to learn at their own pace, be it fast or slow and follow their own interests whereever they lead..
Social – where and when else in our lives do we spend 6 hours a day with the same 30 people all born in the same academic year? We are out in the community mixing with allsorts and all ages. Neither Pete or I fitted in at school and we can both feel the effects as an adult. Sadly in the home ed community bullying still occurs, children still get left out or fall out with friends but largely the option is there to avoid or lessen contact with people that you don’t like and if you don’t want to spend time with people you don’t have to. Jack actually enjoys being surrounded by a group so school works for him. The rest of us don’t, like me Sam only has a few friends but they are really good friends and in a couple of cases I suspect friends for life. Most of his friends are older than him often by several years.
We reached the decision the way we reach most, by inactivity. One day when Jack was about 2 Pete said to me “I wish he didn’t have to go to school”, “he doesn’t” I replied and that seems to have constituted decision made. I suggested viewing local private school but idea was dismissed and then the date for registering at school just came and went. Idea of school was never considered for Sam and I must admit I was never sure when he actually would have.
How We Home Educate
However works at the time, we have varied between completely autonomous and completely timetabled, as the kids reach 7 we tend to fall towards the structured end with a lot of flexibility built in.
At the moment we are drifting in baby steps towards GCSEs so we’re becoming more structured and also more social as we work on skills needed there. I will pop back and link a proper post when I’ve written one.
Where We Home Educate
Should you want to come and meet us one day 😉
We live down on the South Coast of Hampshire and are members of the local groups
Plus admin on the support groups
Other local Home eders who keep blogs are
Sure there are more…