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Today I wanted to touch on the initial idea of home education. Many families are turning to home schooling for whatever reasons.
It may be that your child requires extra one-on-one tuition, which a main stream school cannot provide. It may be that your child has special needs, which are being neglected in main stream schools. It may be that your child is neglected in class because of large numbers or disruptive students. Or it may be that your child is being bullied. This is one of the reasons why we decided to in-school our two children three years ago.
Coming from a primary school in South Africa, both my children were used to discipline and order in their classes. When they returned to school in the UK in 2015, they BOTH experienced disorder, disruption and unsympathetic teachers. After several trips to the head teachers’ office, my husband and I decided that we were gaining nothing out of it. We were met with excuse after excuse. Our son was in a primary school not far from our home, and our daughter had been enrolled at an all-girls’ school in the next town. And BOTH schools appeared to have a no care attitude to our plight. So after a couple of weeks of pure misery coupled with the HOPE that the bullying would go away, we decided to remove them both and take on their education ourselves!
I did some research to ensure we used the correct un-schooling procedure (to be discussed in a subsequent post). I also read some books on the subject, which I found helpful and reassuring. (I will give you the links to those two books below).
One thing is for sure, do some research. Make sure you are honest with yourselves as a family. It is obvious that at least one parent must remain at home with the children. In our case, my husband works from home and I am very lucky in that there is no desperate need for me to go out and work. So for us, it was a no-brainer. But if you think that living on a one-parent income will be too difficult, then you will need to reconsider. There is nothing worse than living the home-schooling ‘dream’ only to find yourselves in financial dire straits, not to mention the added stress and pressure on the family unit. But if you are financially sound and can afford to do it, then DO IT!!
You also DO NOT need to be a teacher or have a swanky degree to be able to teach your kids! (Okay, I have a Law degree but I’m no teacher!!) Anyone can home educate their kids. All you need is LOVE, patience (sometimes in bucket-loads) and help with resources, curriculums and learning. We had some hiccups along the way, with not knowing what curriculum to use for Troy, our then eight year old, but I managed to ‘freestyle’ it until we found a more stable day-to-day learning strategy to follow. I will give you more info on how we do it in subsequent posts. For Skye, our teen, we followed the Oxford Home Schooling curriculum, and she completed her IGCSE courses last year. You will find a review on their services in a subsequent post. She is now sixteen years old and in her first year studying with the Open University, studying towards her Environmental Science Degree. Yes, you did read that right. She is sixteen. And no, she hasn’t done her A-Levels. The Open University doesn’t require them for access to their degree courses, unlike other main stream universities! I will speak more about this in subsequent posts too!!
But for now, if you are considering home education, and as long as you have your child’s best interests at heart, then go for it!! You will be pleasantly surprised!! Your children only have so much time with you in their lifetime (and yours). Time is a precious commodity and spending most of our time with our kids is a blessing!! If they are at school everyday, and you’re at work everyday, those missed hours don’t get given back to you. (Okay, you can tell I’m rather passionate about this time-thing!)
So, if you are thinking about going down the home schooling route, and want to do some research, there are plenty of websites and blogs online for you to page through. There are also these two books that I found very informative, and recommend anyone considering home education, to have a read.