Home Education is a taboo subject. Frowned upon, misunderstood. People envision home educated children to be feral, with no social skills outside their own home and no understanding of the world. But in all honesty that’s a load of rubbish.
Home education isn’t for everyone and that’s ok, but it’s definitely for us. We are only a year into it and the only regret I have is not doing it sooner!
The UK education system is a one-size-fits-all suffocating institution with more and more pressure added onto teachers daily. Teachers who once loved their roles are now leaving the education platform defeated and stressed. Paperwork and grades are deemed more important than mental health and a love for learning is no longer the goal. Where will it end?
Schools are full of standardised tests but yet there are no standardised children. You can’t teach a fish to walk!
This pandemic has forced so many people into educating at home but it’s not been real home education. Even we have struggled. The added mental and emotional pressure has been harsh. Our groups have been cancelled and our outdoor freedom banished. We love exploring but that’s been on hold. Enthusiasm has dwindled. But it will return along with normality.
I’m a big advocate of promoting mental health awareness, and it starts with the young. If we can teach our children to take care of their mental health then as adults they will have the tools to recognise when they need a rest or intervention from their doctor. It’s as important as literacy and numeracy. Even more so infact.
My boys love exploring, being free to jump in mud and climb trees. They enjoy playing in streams and trying to catch fish. They love collecting rocks and sticks. They enjoy being creative and using their imagination. They can turn a simple stick into a game that lasts hours. They love rope swings and slides. They love the beach. They love swimming. They love painting and chalking. They love cooking. They love story writing. They love junk modelling and clay modelling. They love reading. They love Lego and building cities. They love castles and historic facts. They love sensory trays and treasure hunts. They love running free. They love papercrafting and sewing. None of which they did at school other than rare occasions, but was never their choosing or ideas. But they were losing their love for their life. They were always tired, exhausted, anxious. Anxiety is crippling. My one child suffers immensely and the school environment was the majority of his anxiety. It was painful watching. I was handing over my two babies for the majority of their day to an institution I knew stifled everything about them.
In school they are a number, a statistic. They are above expected, expected, or below expected. But only in the things school taught. Things that didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of living a happy life. And in the end that’s all that matters: happiness. These grades test your memory and your memory alone. They don’t measure kindness, respect, manners, emotional regulation, befriending the lonely, how helpful you are, your creativity. They simply test your memory.
I’ve thought about home education since my boys were born but school is the ‘norm’ here in the UK so we carried on with the rest of society. Until this year. I finally had enough of my boys going with the flow and being drowned in the process. I researched home education and a light bulb switched on. It wasn’t about replicating the classroom at home, it was about a life of learning. And in July I de-registered my children after a few fiascos regarding school policies that were detrimental to their well being. We took the plunge. And freedom reigned. It was a breath of fresh air. Anxiety went away within weeks. The kids were relieved.
Our plan is to take our first year slow and find our feet. We are going to loosely follow a curriculum for english, maths and science but with a hands on approach. Children learn most when they are the ones doing. The world is our oyster and our home is not a prison (unless there’sa pandemic lol) .
People always ask about socialisation. The way I see it is my boys are no longer confined to the same classroom with the same 30 people every day. They are not hermits. They are not locked in a cupboard. They are free. Free to be themselves and nurture their interests and taLents. We’ve made so many friends in the last year it’s been refreshing! There’s a whole community of people.
It has been the most nerve wracking decision to make but it has been the best decision I’ve ever made. We love our new life. It was the right decision for us as a family.
So, if anybody is considering home schooling the only advice I’ll give you is go for it! You will not regret it!