Most people that I meet are usually, really surprised that I homeschool, and I'm equally surprised that most think it odd that I would want to do it. When I made the decision to take our girls out of secondary school to teach them at home, I was initially quite nervous. It is a big step to take all responsibility for your child's education, and one that I took seriously.
As it turns out, homeschool has been a positive step for us as a family, and it is a decision that I wish I had made much earlier, when my eldest kids were small. Yes, I regret not home schooling all four of my kids from day one. I think my two eldest would have really benefited from being taught at home. I believe, that some kids are just not cut out to be in the very controlled environment that most schools offer, day in and day out. I think to some kids, the control of standing in line at school is a bit suffocating.
|Our Summer Classroom|
My kids are very much like me and their Dad, in that they yearn for personal freedom in everything they do. School sometimes call it stubborn, obstinate, headstrong or too opinionated. I call it determined, passionate, decisive and that they would just prefer to march to the drum of their own beat. Their independent, strong will is in their genes. They come from a family who prefer to 'do it their own way'. My Dad works for himself and my Grandparents also worked for themselves. My Mum didn't want to settle for a regular life, in a 'normal' house so she built two of her own. Strong willed and determined to live their life, their way.
I went to school during the 1970's and 80's and I grew up in a London borough. Considering my primary school was in a highly populated, built up area, I had a wonderful experience of my early years in school. I was very lucky to have attended a primary school that was lovely and I walked away from there, with lots of positive memories.
My secondary school wasn't so positive. I had lots of fab Friends, but that is all I gained from that school. Lots of laughs, messing about, bunking off and smoking in the school loo's. As for gaining an education, well any hopes of that were dashed when the school got together with my Mum and decided that I should pay more attention to my academic subjects rather than the only one, I was any good at, my art class (much to my art teachers dismay).
Devastated, I felt like school had actually ruined my life by taking art away from me. My attitude became 'Sod you and your stupid rules, if I'm not allowed to be creative then you will never get another piece of work out of me!"
As I couldn't study art at school, I decided to work at home after school, not on my school work, but on my art, my drawings, my writing, my designing, my creations. I spent hour after hour, day after day spent wrapped up in my own world. I wrote poetry & mini books of creative writing. I designed my own clothes and made them. I read lots, but they were books that I wanted to read not what I felt forced to read by my over bearing English teacher. I knew once I was in control of my own education, that I would be free.
When I realised that school was not the best place for our Daughters education, I immediately de-registered them. They have since, both thrived at home. The eldest has nearly finished her first year at college and my youngest is like a completely different child since becoming un-schooled. Her concentration levels have really improved, her handwriting is much neater, she is interested in what she is learning about and she now has career goals.
They are autonomous learners (or self directed, child led), which doesn't mean that they sit and watch TV all day, it means they choose what & when they want to learn. Basically, my Girls learn without a curriculum and our style of learning, as a family is informal & unstructured. I listen to them, work with them, encourage their dreams and I gently guide them. This works for us and has proven to be a great success.
|Dad & Nan|
I have learnt things about my Girls that I just didn't know about them before we took the plunge to home educate, especially with our youngest Daughter who has turned out to be a fantastic writer (She hated writing when She was at school). They have both naturally slipped into interests, that are passed down from their Great Grandmother (My Dads Mother) who was a dressmaker and a creative writer, as both my Girls seem to be following in her footsteps.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti - school. I have some lovely Friends who are fantastic teachers, and the schools they teach at are great. My Friends & Family have kids in local schools who are doing fabulously well. I just think it is down to each family and what works for them, homeschool happens to work for us.