Making the decision to home educate your children is not usually something that can be decided overnight. As with anything these days, there are pros and cons on whatever choice you make. However, by having a solid understanding of the topic should help you make the correct decision for you and your children.
Interestingly, some home education studies out there suggest that children who are home schooled achieve 30% higher grades in standardised tests than those of their school peers. But are these statistics enough to take the plunge of removing your children out of school and into a home education environment?
Are there risks to home educating children?
Of course! But don’t let that be the main reason to dissuade you in making your decision. As a parent, you want to do the best you can for your child, and again - all options need to be drawn out and carefully considered.
One of the most common fears in home educating your children is that your child will develop social problems and have difficulty integrating into society because they may never experience teamwork-related tasks. For these reasons, parents are afraid that their children may also be more reluctant to yield their opinion or compromise with others later in life, despite having additional communication with a parent at home.
Despite these fears of a child’s social development, a study carried out in the US showed that 71% of home educated graduates are active in their communities and participate in community projects such as coaching a local team or volunteering at school, compared to just 37% of the general population. They were more engaged and active in politics too, with 76% using their vote compared to just 29% of the corresponding US populace. Perhaps most importantly of all, 59% of home educated adults reported that they were “very happy” with their lives compared to just 28% of the general US population.
Another potential issue is that parents may not be able to fulfil all aspects of the National Curriculum with their knowledge, especially if home education continues at GCSE and A level. Therefore, it is important to have the right educational resources and support available ready for when you need it (more on that later!). Parents having access to educational facilities you would typically use in school, such as a laboratory for science lessons is also unlikely, meaning that due to this limitation some topics will need to be theory based rather than being in a practical learning environment.
“But home educating isn't normal!”
Anything that is out of the ordinary from what people are used to is bound to lead to debate and apprehension. Home education is no exception from this rule and it does get a bad rap from time to time in the media. However, we shouldn't all jump to conclusions that all children who are home educated miss out on a solid education and become unsociable later in life, as the majority of parents who do a very good job home educating their children. We should also be reminded that the very same thing can be said about teachers too – there are good ones, and some not so good ones out there.
However, there are still a number of reasons why some parents wish to take charge of their own children’s education, and we should always be respectful of this.
As an example, some parents may feel strongly enough about one of the following reasons that they wish to home educate their children:-
- Unsatisfied with the level of teaching in local schools
- Can provide a better education at home than school
- Provides specific concentration on a child’s interests and weaknesses
- Noticed behavioural change in school, compared to home
- Increased family time & strengthening the parent-child relationship
- National Curriculum does not fall in line with the family’s beliefs on education
Here are some official stats from the U.S Department of Education
Does the education system work for you?
This is often a question parents ask themselves in their decision to home educate. We have all seen the school performance tables that are announced each year, which suggests that schools are being pressured to put a big focus on testing their pupils regularly. This again has brought about much debate as some believe that the structure in place is excessive, and regular testing does not provide pupils with a quality understanding of key curriculum topics.
Everyone is different to how they learn and take in new information. This means that in each classroom there are different learning styles to adhere to, and some would argue that by adopting a formal structure such as the one schools use means that some children will be left behind in their learning. The education system expects children to perform in the same way, with the same approach at the same time, to the same level – and this can be difficult for some children.
Learning at home
Whilst home educating can bring many challenges, it does allow parents to tailor their child’s learning to their needs and incorporate a balance of approaches, activities and experiences to help facilitate learning and development. Some examples of these can be structured academic activities at home, or a less formal approach can be taken whereby children are encouraged to express their own interests and visit museums, social events and take part in arts and crafts etc.
Deciding on which home education approach is best is something only parents can decide – will lessons be broad and flexible, or more narrow and structured?
Whichever approach is adopted, parents need to know that support is always available.
There are countless groups available to help home educators find suitable resources and advice, and we would recommend spending plenty of time researching to find which ones are the most beneficial to parents that home educate their children.
Here are some pointers on how to get started:-
- Look online for home education specific groups. Social media sites such as Facebook has a large selection of private home education groups you can join to interact with other, perhaps more experienced parents involved with home education.
- Look on home school forums to find frequently asked questions, and ask yourself if these are relevant to your situation too.
- Be prepared to get involved with other people’s ideas. Asking questions and sharing experiences with each other is what helps develop a strong community in each of the home school groups.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions, no matter how basic you think your question is
- Talk to as many parents as possible, and decide which approach is most suitable.
Famous home educated people
To round things up, we thought we’d share with you a number of well-known figures who have had an influence on society in some shape or form.
Inventor of the incandescent light bulb, carbon microphone, movie camera, phonograph… the list goes on! “My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me, and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint”.
Frank Lloyd Wright
Considered the most influential architect in American History, Frank was home educated by his mother until he attended high school.
C.S. Lewis was an English professor at Oxford University and became well-known in history for contributing to children’s literature with the Chronicles of Narnia.
to accommodate her touring schedule, Taylor Swift transferred to a private Christian school that offered homeschooling services. She maintained a 4.0 grade average, having completed her final two years of course work in twelve months by being home educated.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
And last, but certainly not least - we have the 32nd President of America, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was homeschooled by his parents and home tutors.
Don't forget that Daydream has a wide selection of bespoke, home education products (including plenty of home education freebies!) which have been created to help you teach confidently at home, even if you’re not an expert in the subject yourself.