Thursday, 5 October 2017

Why I DON'T Home Educate



I think for most people, sending your child to school is a given - the alternatives aren't really considered unless it's exceptional circumstances. But for me the decision to send my daughter to a mainstream school was a conscious one, for a number of reasons.

Being an attachment/gentle/hippy parent (delete as per your perspective), most of the online parenting communities I'm part of have a number of home educating families. Sometimes when concerns were raised about school issues there would be the odd comment of, "this is why we home educate," or similar. So from quite early on I started to consider home education as an option.

The way I parent is sometimes at odds with how things are done in most schools - mainly because I try my best to avoid rewards and punishments - so I was worried that this would cause problems. And with Eleanor being, ahem, on the spirited side, I did (and still do) worry about how she'd get on at school. I also think there is a lot of pressure on kids these days which has nothing to do with the teachers (who I truly believe are wonderful human beings who should be treasured far more than they are) and everything to do with the constant top-down shifting of goalposts. I'm looking at you, Gove, Greening et al.

But ultimately I decided that home education wasn't for us. Why?

Lack of car

I heard lots about home ed groups, special events at museums and so on, but my first thought would always be, "how would I get there?" Without access to a car on weekdays, I'd have to battle with public transport. Which would not only be stressful and time-consuming, but also an extra expense. Which leads me to ...

Cost

I know a lot of educational activities can be done free or very cheaply, but I can imagine that the costs would gradually mount up. It sounds really stingy, but the cost of home educating was a factor in my decision.

Eleanor's need to socialise

Early on, Eleanor showed she loved being around other children. She was always restless at home. While being with 29 other children every week day does causes a few problems sometimes as she's still developing socially, I knew that she would miss regular interaction with children if we home educated. Especially as it would be hard to get to home ed groups (see above).

The arrival of Ezra

I planned a bigger age gap in part so that I would have time alone with my second child just as I had with my first. (And in the vain hope that I'd get a few full nights' sleep in between. I didn't.) And to be honest, I'm a bit rubbish at keeping two kids entertained without significant recourse to screens. I'm in awe of parents who are able to look after younger children whilst also giving their older ones a quality education. You are amazing. I'm 99% sure I couldn't do it.

Me!

Ultimately one of the biggest reasons for not home educating was that I knew I didn't have the right temperament. I'm not a patient person and have been blessed with a very strong-minded, bright but exhausting daughter. By the time she was around two and a half I already felt like I couldn't cope much longer with looking after her full-time and was counting down the months until she could start preschool. Plus, I know that eventually I'm going to want a job outside of the home. I'm getting a little antsy about that already but I don't know what I want to do as a job so will stay at home at least until Ezra is in preschool.

So all in all, school was the right choice for us. I think. I did toy with one of the 'alternative' schools like Steiner-Waldorf or Montessori but geographically (and probably financially) it was even less of an option. Luckily Eleanor is at a school she loves, with great teachers and a fab group of friends. It's not without it's hiccups - nothing ever is - but it's working out fairly well.

I hope no home educating parents feel criticised by anything I say, because I do think you are wonderful people who are doing the best by your children. I couldn't do what you do. No really, I couldn't. You deserve far better support and recognition.

Did you consider home education? What decision did you come to, and why?

Linking up with Day 5 of #Blogtober17 - Education.

#Blogtober17

4 comments:

  1. This is so interesting to read...
    I don't think I could home educate. My two need the structure and routine of school. x

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I'm not sure I'd be disciplined enough in myself to make a routine and stick to it. My daughter likes routine too, although she still fights it!

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  2. I like the idea of home educating, however I'm pretty sure that in practice it would be a complete nightmare with my two.
    #blogtober

    ReplyDelete