I think the title says it all really!
We entered the unknown territories of Home Education around a month ago. Its going really really well. We have quite a structured week with bouts of downtime for play and cuddles. We’ve been attending regular groups and clubs each week and the girls are already making friends, its so wonderful to see them all so relaxed and interacting. We visit our library every week, we go swimming every week (big girl swam 18 lengths last week!!! something she’d never had the energy to do before), we do a gym/dance class each week (and all 3 take part, no embarrassment or apprehension, they just do it and they enjoy it, something they’ve not been able to manage before!) we also attend a HE group with activities that vary from trips to cool places to arts and crafts. We have a math tutor ready to start with all 3 girls in January and a guitar tutor for middle girl. So we’re pretty organised already eh!
The flexibility of Home Education has meant that we have been able to go right back to basics and fill in some of those learning gaps they all had. Not many 11 year old’s get to go right back to the ‘KS1 Jolly phonics’ stage or learn how to count in 10’s!
By 9am each day, yes even weekends, they’ve written a daily dairy and practiced their spellings for the week, most schools are still settling children in to class or taking registers by then! We also use online resources such as ‘Education City’ and ‘Twinkl’, both of which have been amazingly useful actually.
We’ve baked cakes, made soup, they’ve finally learnt how to make their own breakfast, we’ve learnt about how our bodies work and what they need to keep them healthy, we’ve learnt about colours and light, written poetry, letters and book reviews, our lego collection has finally been dusted off, albeit for maths! We’ve been working on fractions and times tables and a little bit of division. We love to play ‘time’, money, spelling and maths games. We’ve done crafts and sewing. Dictionary skills and internet skills. They’ve even done some history, geography and RE. We’ve actually done so much work that I’m having to re-think the A4 folders they each have for their ‘school’ work because we’ve filled them already!
As well as improvements and achievements in their learning I’ve also seen some amazing transformations in all of them. They’re no longer bickering none stop. They’re no longer competing over absolutely everything. They seem to have more confidence in themselves and their ability’s. They’ve been able to play independently which is a dramatic improvement along with their ability to play together ‘nicely’. They’ve even played with some of their ‘toys’ rather than just organizing them!
The biggest negative of Home Education is that it seems to be costing quite a lot! clubs & activities, stationary, work books, online subscriptions, tuition, petrol, extra heating and lighting for the day time, it all adds up, to quite a lot! Home Educators aren’t entitled to the Pupil Premium Plus or any other financial support it seems, so that really sucks. The other negative is that I NEVER get a break, which means house work, ironing, household paperwork and even getting the car washed/MOT’d/serviced is nigh on impossible never mind hair appointments or doctor appointments for myself. I foresee this all becoming more of an issue over time as my ability to tolerate an unkempt house wears thinner. Because it will, I like a clean and tidy house! (as do the girls actually but that’s because mess/grime is something they were sadly familiar with in their past)
Do I regret our decision? Home Education isn’t a ‘lifestyle’ choice for us, I don’t have any issue with the Education system itself, in fact we were blessed with some amazing teachers in our primary school that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to anyone asking me about local schools. I’m still a traditional thinker and feel that school is the place where kids are meant to go every day to learn, I also don’t have any issue with families that choose Home Education as a lifestyle choice. I just hadn’t ever planned anything else because I didn’t know anything else. Home education was never in my plan, I wanted to return to work eventually, Id planned to return to work a year after placement, but appointments and therapy and assessments and the girls inability to manage any sort of child care put a stop to that. It was the realisation that My girls just couldn’t manage school, and that no matter how hard I, or school, tried, it never seemed to be enough. Seeing the changes in them this last few weeks has made me realise just how hard they found the school environment. I don’t regret choosing Home Education for my girls, but I do regret not making the decisions sooner.