I think I am what is classed as one of the “new era” wave of Home Educators, amongst long standing Home Edders. I’ve been Home Educating for around two years now.So why am I a “new era” Home Edder? Well, because rather than knowing all about Home Education and raising my children in the knowledge I was always going to educate them myself, I fell about the knowledge and possibility to Home Educate because I had to look for alternative paths of education for my daughter. At the time she was 8 years old and as my 3rd child, it was obvious there were difficulties.
As far as Home Educating my other children, I do so out of choice. Wild horses wouldn’t drag me back into that system again. I had no idea what I was missing or what my children were missing. This way of life really sparked the grey matter and relieved my family from the tedium of walking through the cloud of cigarette smoke at the school gates everyday with tired children who had been awoken far too early and had to eat breakfast before they felt they wanted it because of time restrictions.
Many families are finding themselves in the same position as I found myself in. A child with SEND, undiagnosed with neither the NHS nor the school interested in helping as either way, someone has to find extra funds. A parent trying to be polite until they end up having to take action either by starting complain procedures or removing their child from mainstream schooling. Unbeknown to many, Home Education actually suits a large portion of SEND children because they can differentiate their learning so they get the most out of it. Previous to Home Education my daughter was so far behind, over 2 academic years actually. She was anxious, self harming, wouldn’t take part in the classroom for anything and it got to the point where every day was a battle. So what is medically wrong with her? She has Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Visual Stress and a recommendation that she likely has Dyspraxia. In my mind, all identifiable or at least common enough for a school to realize the area of struggle. No one ever did mention a thing. No one ever managed to listen long enough to try and work it out. It was only recently after paying for a private assessment that we got some answers. We still await many more.
There is a happier part to that story and the daughter who was so withdrawn from education, her own life, now takes an active roll and knows that if there is a maths problem or a comprehension problem she doesn’t understand, we will find another way for her to absorb that knowledge. She also gets more physical activity now, which strengthens the core and is very important for someone with the issues she has.
In two years we have gone from having to peel a child from a school wall to get her into class, to a smiling girl who sees a future, who has hope and who wants to live every day. She now reads, writes. If she doesn’t know something, she initiates research. She has an active roll in her own education and it makes such a difference.
Of course that is one child out of four and I better not go any further into the demise of mainstream education for SEND or this will no longer be a post about my love for Home Education. Be assured you will read posts about that subject also.
So, my eldest was always mainstream educated. She never had any interest in joining us in our Home Education journey and that was okay with us. The whole of their lives I have tried to make sure their individualities flourished as it can be easy to just be pulled along in life when you are a large family. She was at an Academy and they have for a while been a bit silly with their ego power trips. It came to a head when they refused her her human rights and so she decided herself that she would prefer to be Home Educated. She has her studies enriched via college courses.
My No2 was schooled and decided to join us as Home Educated almost immediately. After spending over 18 months with us, she decided she wanted to know the allure that was Secondary school. I miss her being Home Educated but I facilitate my children’s requests when they can be met. Currently she is doing well and always at the top of her classes. I personally cringe every time she tells me she had to ask permission for a drink of water or to take a blazer off when they are too hot but she knows her choices now, unlike most of the children in the UK who never get asked.
Then there is the baby of the family, my son. He attended nursery but has had no mainstream full time education. He hated nursery. He loved the other little children and the play but already, there was a teacher shouting at him when he mixed up numbers 1-20. He was 4 years old and he is very hyperactive so always thinking of the next activity. Being able to move helps him learn and keep his interest. He is a natural born fidget. His whole education is on my shoulders but I see that as a challenge and because of that, I can see his growth and know we got there together. He loves some of the colourful educational programs that are helping him learn to read and grasp maths among other things.
We’ve had a brilliant 2 years where for the first time in years we have had a positive outlook as a whole family. We have visited many places, both for education and fun. We have met people from all across the UK as we get invites to events for other Home Educating groups and we go for day trips over 100 miles away. Going to a “local” meetup here, ends up with us making friends with people who live 40 miles away. Yet we have the bonus of keeping some great friends local also.
Since we started, I have helped out in one of our local groups and we have seen that grow immensely. We have a few events we do regularly such as the Cinema, RollerSkating, iJump, Climbing etc. So many willing volunteers and they all enrich our community. I’m proud to be part of a progressive group.