What made you decide to Home Educate your children?

I have been asked this question many times, but someone asked me again this week over on Instagram, so here goes....

I met a lovely lady on a trip to Birmingham back in 2002. She was home educating her four children and who were thriving in their Education. Back then HE wasn't really heard of. I never knew it was a legal option. My research into HE had just begun!

Even though I didn't have any children at the time, I was intrigued and my husband and I just knew it was something we would do with our own children one day. I loved the fact that there was a close bond between siblings that are home educated, loved the fact it was just learning together as part of normal family life, loved the fact that children could learn what they want in any way that suited them!

I began by becoming a member of Education Otherwise to get more information and find out if there were any local groups. There wasn't too much information online back then. HE, which is known as 'homeschooling' in the USA, seemed to be very popular there, but here in the UK people thought school was the only option or that HE was just for the elite in society or for the travelling community.

When I had my first child in 2003 I was adamant she wouldn't go to school. I wanted her to learn in her own time and follow her own interests. Instiling a love of learning was a big thing for me, as I couldn't wait for the day I never had to go back to school!

I took her out and about, mainly to toddler groups and story time sessions at the library and did lots of messy play at home. It wasn't until I had my second child in 2006 that people started to ask me if I had thought about which nursery my eldest would attend. I confidently said I am going to HE. People were very surprised! Why would I want to spend all day with my children? How would they learn anything when I am not a 'teacher'? How will she socialise with other children? How will she take exams? It is legal? These are some of the many questions I faced.

When I told my family, they too may have been surprised but they have supported me from the start which I am very grateful for. Many friends at that time wanted to HE too but for various reasons they ended up putting their children in school. Now HE is on the rise here in the UK and many families seem much more confident about starting HE with their children. There is a lot of support today with workshops, local groups etc. and people have realised that even though it's known as 'Home Education' children actually get out and about much more than children who are in school all day.

I do not believe in one curriculum fits all which is another reason I decided that HE is the best form of Education for my children. I saw this when my eldest was about 5 years old and she became interested in Komodo Dragons. I'm not sure what sparked her interest but it led to a big project about Indonesia covering her core subjects as well as Geography and Art. News stories often lead us on to projects too, like for instance a few years ago when there was a volcanic eruption in Iceland. The kiddies were so interested in it so planned all our subjects around Volcanoes and Iceland, they even made their own volcano which they erupted!

Some people worried about the fact that they could 'miss out' on things they do at school. I too probably worried about it to some extent. But over the years I have realised that HE children get more opportunities to explore, investigate and write in their own way. They have the time to study topics they are interested in and get to visit places relevant to their topic. Such as when they studied the water cycle we planned a tour of Yorkshire Water which they thoroughly enjoyed or when DD14 wanted to play 'shops' as a preschooler, we popped into our local charity shop so she could help out on the till dealing with real money and real customers face to face.

One thing I have had to remind myself is that HE is certainly not 'school at home' and I don't believe you should try to make it that way. Monday to Thursday we are quite structured from age 7 and cover the core subjects along with their own individual areas of interest but this could also mean taking our 'classroom' outdoors whenever possible. Friday is our day off and they have free time to do their own thing. Weekends we get out and about doing sports and art.

Now in 2018 I have five happy children who socialise very well with people of all ages, backgrounds etc. They all have different interests and all learn in different ways, at different speeds.

It's quite amazing to see the little girl I taught to read many years ago, is now choosing her career path and has been on work experience at various places. I am so pleased that we have had the opportunity to give our children this type of Education and I hope by setting up this blog and my Instagram that I have helped or inspired someone.

A big thank you to all my subscribers for supporting me over the past year and those that have got in touch with me. x

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