As a home educator, I follow various social media accounts and read and listen to my fair share of blogs and podcasts surrounding the benefits of home education.
I find that many are constantly trying to validate their reasons for choosing home education by listing the many benefits that it can offer, this usually takes the format of endless reasons why schools are not the best option followed by the solution that home education could potentially offer.
I feel that sometimes not only does some of the information come across like a defence statement, almost like home educators feel that they endlessly have to churn out statistics and rely upon studies gone by to ‘back up’ their educational choice but often the points that they are trying to make are watered down by over compensating the benefits without actually comparing them to the negatives.
I felt that it was time for a change!
In this alternative article, I want to address some of the reasons why you should NOT choose home education for your family rather than why you should, including some of the factors that we took into consideration when making our educational choice for our family:
- If you prefer that your children’s life to be dictated to on a weekly basis by a preset timetable then you should NOT home educate. Home Educated families are not obligated to follow a timetable of any sorts. This means that their children are able to benefit from a regular sleep pattern which benefits them in various ways such as improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, and overall mental and physical health. Instead of limiting their learning and play time, home educated children are free to spend as much time as they like doing the activities that they enjoy.
- If you prefer your children to have their learning journey mapped out for them by an organisation who have no understanding of your children and their interests then you should NOT home educate. Home educated families currently have no obligation to follow the national curriculum in the UK. This allows them to create a personalised learning journey concentrating on their childs individual interests and future career plans rather than forcing them to learn subjects which have no relevance to them now or in the future. When children are engaged in the subjects that they are learning, not only do they have a wider attention span but they also digest the information much quicker and easier making the time spent much more beneficial.
- If you prefer that your children are moulded into a round peg to fit a round hole then you should NOT home educate. Home educated children have the freedom to express themselves in lots of ways. They are free to wear clothing that they are comfortable in rather than be forced to wear a uniform that is not of their choosing just so that they look like everyone else. Home educated children do not have the peer pressure that children in schools are subjected to from a very young age which can diminish their self confidence and creativity purely so that they can ‘fit in’.
- If you prefer your children to have a limited social circle then you should NOT home educate. Home educated children have the freedom and flexibility to meet lots of people of different ages and abilities every single day. They are not limited to a small group of others similar to them in age/ability and only a handful of the same adults on a daily basis. Because children who are home educated never leave the real world, they never have to worry about integrating back into it once they leave school. Generally they are much more adaptable to social situations and have excellent communication skills which are developed through daily interactions.
- If you prefer your children to have to wait their turn along with 20+ other children if they need help in order for them to progress with their learning then you should NOT home educate. Home educated children have the opportunity for one to one learning which allows for a much deeper understanding of their individual needs. Because they are able to raise any questions they may have without feeling awkward in front of others they inevitably have a wider understanding of the subjects covered. Home education allows for a much more efficient learning experience which in turn gives children greater confidence and self-esteem.
- If you would prefer that your children have to ask permission in order to have their basic needs met, such as going to the toilet, eating when they are hungry and drinking when they are thirsty then you should NOT home educate. Home educated children are free to have their basic needs met throughout each and ever day. They never have to seek permission to enable them to perform basic bodily functions like using the toilet and their nutritional needs are met on an individual basis rather than to meet the needs of several hundred others or to adhere to the timings of a strict time table.
- If you would rather your children spend more time with others instead of with you and their siblings then you should NOT home educate. Home education offers the opportunity for parents and children to spend more time together, building bonds and making priceless memories. Spending more time together allows families to share experiences and create positive family dynamics, which in turn promotes a greater understanding of each other.This allows for more open communication creating a stronger bond as children grow and develop into adults.
- As a parent , if you would prefer to have to ask permission or face a hefty fine because you would like to take your children on holiday in order to spend time and create memories with them then you should NOT home educate. Home education allows families the flexibility to spend time together and make memories whenever they want. Because they are not dictated to by a governing body as to when they are allowed to spend time with their children, they are able to take advantage of cost effective times to holiday and take days out meaning that they can enjoy those experiences together much more frequently and without financial penalties.
- If you would prefer your children to be forced into take part in standardised testing which is a contributing factor to anxiety related issues in young people, even though it has no academic or personal benefit to them, only the school that they attend, then you should NOT home educate. Home educated children and young people are not obliged to take any form of standardised testing unless they choose to. This means that not only are they free from the stress and anxiety of the pressures related to such tasks but also that they are not funnelled into thinking that the only way to define success is to measure it against a grade achieved on a piece of paper which is only relevant on the day that it was achieved. A piece of paper or a computer generated email containing the letters A to F does not have the ability to tell you if a young person is a gifted musician or artist, if they have a talent for inventing or designing or if they have communication skills which could potentially make a difference to the lives of others, Home educated children are free to explore their hobbies and interest without the need for pigeon holes and are more likely to looked upon as a whole person rather than a number or letter.
- If you prefer that your children are micro managed throughout their childhood and young adult years then sent out into the world with little understanding of the fundamental skills that they need to navigate their way through their adult life then you should NOT home educate. Home educated children are given the opportunity to learn and develop vital life skills which will be beneficial as they transition into adulthood. Finance, household responsibility and work ethic become a regular part of their daily life much earlier than if they were to attend a school setting allowing them to have a greater understanding of their importance and how to manage them. Many of these skills are not taught as part of the school curriculum which in some instances can have a detrimental effect on young people venturing into the world when they leave school as they are not equipped with the knowledge needed to navigate them which can be a steep learning curve for some.
As always, Education is not a one size fits all.
As a parent or carer, nobody is equipped better than you to make an informed decision about the right choice for your children and your family.
If you would like to take a look at my earlier blog posts surrounding home education, or take a look at the learning resources that we use as part of our home education journey, you can find them here:
Learning Resources & Discounts.