Why Home Education Works

Education is something everyone has a right to. It is often expected in this modern day and age that we will simply enroll our kids in school from age 4 and upwards, along with preschool and nursery beforehand. It is also sometimes assumed that this the right setting for every child; that they will hopefully thrive in the school environment, going on to become an excellent student with good grades and prefect standard behaviour. But this is not always the case. And a formal school setting isn’t the only way to educate someone; there’s plenty of alternative routes, and home schooling is one of the main alternative ways.

Educating your children at home has always been a hotly debated topic, but that doesn’t mean it’s something no one believes in! And there’s plenty of information and resources out there if you want to introduce it to your household. With all that in mind, here’s a couple of the main reasons why home education works…

Why Home Education Works. Faded background image of a number game.

There’s No Forced Socialisation

A lot of the discourse over home education is the idea that any kid that goes through it will end up isolated with zero social skills. But that’s simply not true, and it’s actually one of the main reasons home education works so well in the modern era. With all of our technology and social media, it is easier than ever to organise social opportunities, as well as find support and friendship from other home educating families, both online and in real life.

And as we get older, we often realise that we only made friends at our school because we saw these people five times a week anyway, and very rarely do we keep many of our school friends into adult years. Yet when you’ve got not school to socialise in, you go out of your way to find friends elsewhere, and form real bonds with them. Considering our new and improved ways to communicate with the rest of the world, something that wasn’t possible when the school system was invented, home educators can socialise just as easily as their school attending peers, and with a diverse range of people of all ages too.

Yellow school bus

There’s So Many Ways to Learn!

And that’s the simple truth of it; sitting down in a classroom with 29 other students, being able to get their head down and get on with work, and take in all the information the teacher is giving them, and without getting distracted, is incredibly hard for some kids. Being in that setting doesn’t benefit them. Plus if nothing is done about it, they can end up being labelled the ‘trouble maker’, with few friends and little teacher approval, which completely ruins their self esteem. Homeschooling (commonly referred to as home education in the UK because it often does not represent school at home!) on the otherhand, can be approached in a flexible way that works for that child, allowing them to thrive.

It can involve the online world as well; there’s a lot more use of technology for educational purposes now than there used to be, and developments in how it fits into our modern lives generally, so this can also help in making sure that all kids have an accessible platform to learn from without the need for school. Even the bigger institutions have noticed this shift towards the virtual, with programs such as masters in engineering management being available online.

With the help of all of these things, home education works because it let’s kids learn at their own pace, and it doesn’t force them to move on when they’re not ready to, or hold them back from their passions and interests. It allows for freedom and flexibility, whilst offering a tailor- made individualised approach to learning. Of course, every child must be provided with a suitable full time education, whether in school or not, but it is often a lot more relaxed compared to being inside an education institution.

Home education works, and it’s something that deserves more of a shining light in the modern day and age. Whatever helps your child to succeed should be implemented; go ahead!

*This is a collaborative post.

The 3 Biggest Myths Around Home Education Dispelled

Home Education (sometimes also known as homeschooling) isn’t for everybody, and there are many reasons why a parent might prefer a traditional educational establishment. When both parents work full-time, for example, an education at home may seem unachievable. Or for other reasons it may be, or at least feel, out of the question. And of course, many children do enjoy school.

However, there are misunderstandings about home education that put people off the idea. It works for us, but there are those myths that always seem to circulate about home education that need to be dispelled to give any doubters an informed choice. We have listed some of them below, so if you have been sitting on the proverbial fence about whether to home ed your child or not, we may be able to set the record straight on a few things…

The 3 Biggest Myths Around Home Education Dispelled title with faded background image of apple on a pile of books

Kids miss out on the social aspect of school

Home educated kids don’t spend time in a school with hundreds of children, but to say they don’t have the opportunity to socialise isn’t true at all. It can rely somewhat on the parent, but with a little bit of proactivity, their children can be out socialising with people their own age (and indeed a wide mix of ages!) within the home ed community, and in extra-curricular activities that take place outside of a school environment too. Many home educating parents work with each other as well, organising field trips, groups, activities etc… where their children can learn and mingle together. And besides, not all children fare well socially at school, especially those who are shy and awkward, have SEND, or who struggle to fit in with the varied cliques on the school playground.

Home educated children miss out on college or university

This isn’t true, and there are many colleges who will take home educated children, with or without recognised qualifications. You can normally find this out by checking the college website or by giving them a quick phone call. It’s also possible to study for the relevant GCSE and A-level courses at home and sit exams at a centre. Some study through correspondence courses, or with a private tutor, if that suits them better or the parent doesn’t feel able to cover every subject thoroughly. In some cases, parents home educate their children for a period and then children attend mainstream schooling to study for the relevant exams. So there are options available, meaning those who are home educated won’t miss out on qualifications or further education.

It’s also possible to study for the relevant GCSE and A-level courses at home and sit exams at a centre. Some study through correspondence courses, or with a private tutor, if that suits them better or the parent doesn’t feel able to cover every subject thoroughly. In some cases, parents home educate their children for a period and then children attend mainstream schooling to study for the relevant exams. So there are options available, meaning those who are home educated won’t miss out on qualifications or further education.

Children perform better at a mainstream school

While there are some brilliant schools out there – check out the Leicester High School for Girls with all their fabulous accreditations, for example – there are also schools who struggle under Ofsted’s scrutiny. Still, there are many factors that come into play regards a child’s performance, regardless of where they study. Home education actually offers benefits which could enhance a child’s performance, including customisable learning according to the child’s needs, and one-to-one attention. Mainstream schooling is great, but these two points are hard to achieve, due to their large class sizes and a strict adherence to the National Curriculum. There are pros and cons to any form of education, but to say a child’s performance is affected by home education is a misnomer.

An image of a child sat at a table holding a pencil, writing and drawing

Final word

As we said, home education is not for every parent, and it may not be for every child, either. On the flipside, this might be the preferred choice for both parties depending on the circumstances. Is it right for you? We can’t answer that, but we do hope we have dispelled some of the common myths around the situation.

*This is a collaborative post.

Why Do Nettles Exist?

Whilst we were sat outside on a bench at KIDS playground yesterday, Squiggle asked ‘why do nettles exist?’ She said she was curious because she knows they sting people but do they have a purpose as well, are they useful in any way? And do they sting other animals or just people? What about insects? When we got home, we did some research together to answer her questions. She was interested to discover that nettles can be used as a medicine, as well as food and drink. Insects don’t get stung as they move between the spines without activating the sting. Animals do get stung in theory but only if it touches their skin, so often their fur protects them. This was a useful website for our research www.nettles.org.uk. Squiggle then suggested that maybe stinging nettles are also a way of teaching people to be careful of plants and be more aware of where they are walking.

 

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This is just one example of how natural curiosity leads to discussion and learning. And what better way to foster a child’s natural curiosity and interest in the world around us than simply to be out in it, surrounded by things to wonder about? To me, this is what education is all about!

 

A Typical Week in Home Education?

In reality there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ week for us, we are interest-led and we tend to go with the flow as we feel this suits our needs as a family. The freedom to do this is one of the many reasons we love home educating. I will share more of our personal educational philosophy sometime but that is really a separate subject so I will leave it for now. However, this post aims to give a flavour of the type of thing we might find ourselves doing and a rough gist of what our week might look like. So here is a brief summary of our week:

Saturday

In the morning Squiggle played outside in the garden with her dad. She also picked some blackberries then helped to clean and feed our rabbits. After this we decided to head to the seaside at Southend for the rest of the day.

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Playing on the beach
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Collecting seaweed
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Paddling in the sea

Sunday

We spent some the day at home then decided to pop to Milton Keynes shopping centre for a little while (where she particularly enjoyed the caravan show and studying the inside of a working clock)

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This is the model plane she made at home

Monday

We went to London Zoo for the day.

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We enjoyed seeing the star fishes and seahorses in the aquarium
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Iguana in the reptile house
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The gorilla striking a pose!
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Petting farm
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Squiggle spent a long time playing in the water fountains with an acorn. She had fun designing a science experiment to see which fountains could hold the acorn up in the water. She did lots of investigating how easily the acorn moved in the little stream as well.

Tuesday

We played at home for a while (self- directed learning) then we decided to go to Paradise Park for the rest of the day.

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She decided she wanted to play with some coins that had been left on the table so this led to learning to recognise and sort different coins. We also had a discussion on the value of things.
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Watching how the otters behave
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We enjoyed watching the white tiger take a bath

Wednesday

We had planned to go to a local park to meet up with some friends in the morning then we also went to Leighton Buzzard park in the afternoon.

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Fleetville park
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Counting the shapes then setting the dial to the correct number
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Developing her climbing skills and confidence
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These stepping stones wobble to make this more challenging.
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Balancing skills

Thursday

We stayed at home today so I produced a hidden parcel that had arrived recently, which she was very excited about. It was a zip wire for her hex bugs! This of course inspired her to play with these for sometime, including lots of exploration and discussion about how they work. Activities she later chose included playing Reading Eggs and Maths Seeds on the laptop.

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Hexbugs
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Maths seeds

Friday

Most of our day was spent at the scout hut for art group then ‘meet up and play’.

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Exploring clay at art group
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Doing scratch art