Weird & Wonderful!
When I think back to when we very first decided to home educate our children, We had various comments and reactions ranging from extremely supportive to down right rude!
In this article, I want to address one of the most common misconceptions surrounding home education.
Not only is this particular myth absolute nonsense but it is also a negative message for those who may be possibly considering home education for their family.
If you would like to watch the vlog version of this article then you can find it on my You Tube channel here.
Myth Number 1- All Home Educators Are Weird Because ‘Normal’ People Send Their Kids To School.
So, Where do I possibly start with this one!
Firstly, I would say that it would probably depend on your definition of ‘normal’, whilst most people in the UK currently decide to send their children to mainstream or private school I would hope that the decision is based on their genuine opinion of what is right for their family and not just because they choose to follow the crowd and be seen as normal. Sending your children to school for those parents is just as normal to them as home education is to those who make an alternative educational choice for their children.
It is a huge misconception that home educators are all vegan, religious, holistic and spend their time basket weaving whilst sat in a circle in the middle of a forest singing campfire songs!
There are certainly some families who enjoy some, if not all of those activities and I have to be honest and say that after having the pleasure of meeting some of them, they are without question some of the most grounded, calmest and interesting people that I have ever spoken to.
Believe it or not, all home educators do not live in seclusion and cut themselves off from the rest of the world, speaking from a personal point of view we live in a normal town, on a normal street and I would imagine that if you were to meet myself and my family, you would assume that we were just as normal as the next person, as indeed I think that we are its just that our ideas on normality may differ, but do you know what?
We have been home educating for just over 4 years now and one of the many things that I like about it is, that instead of simply dropping the kids daily at a drop off point and exchanging pleasantries with other parents, generally where the kids go, we go which gives us the opportunity to really get to know other people.
By actually taking the time to speak to those individuals about their alternative lifestyle rather than making assumptions, I have found that many home educating families have very much the same ethos as ourselves when it comes to their reasons for choosing home education however our lifestyles couldn’t be more different,probably very much like those who choose to send their children to school.
I dare say that if the parents who send their children to school took a while to properly speak to the other parents at the school gates, they would probably be surprised to find that they were perhaps not as ‘normal’ as they first thought…..whatever ‘normal’ is!
Just because their ethos was the same as in their choice to send them to school, they may also be unconventional otherwise, but so what?
Life shouldn’t be a one size fits all because if it were, what a boring world it would be!
We have been lucky enough to meet some amazing families and whilst their lifestyle choices aren’t for me, I can certainly see the attraction.
For example, I remember speaking to one lady who sold her house, bought a camper and packed up her 2 children. They went off touring the world for over 2 years. Her children had visited places that at the ripe old age of 43, I could only dream of and were multilingual at a very young age. They had experienced cultures that some could only read about and had such fantastic memories of sharing those moments together as a family.
Another family decided that city living just wasn’t for them, they moved to a rural village and now live as sustainably as they can by growing their own fruit and vegetables and up cycling rather than buying new. Their children absolutely love been outdoors and instead of expensive holidays, they pack up their tent several times a year and head off exploring beautiful places within the UK.
Whilst neither of the options are for me, firstly because I simply could not function without a toilet facility and even the most basic of house plants would have every right to shudder their leaves at the thought of passing our threshold as none of their predecessor have ever survived to my knowledge, I can see why they do it.
On the other hand I know several families just like us, not just because their home becomes a final resting place for house vegetation but also because although we embrace the ethos of home education, we shop at Aldi whilst wearing shop bought clothing and there’s not a hand woven rug in sight! I also suffer from terrible hay-fever so forests and woodlands are not high on my agenda of regular places to visit!
I think that one of the main reasons that many people assume that home educators are ‘weird’ is because they themselves are uneducated when it comes to the subject of home education!
One of the dangers of allowing these misconceptions to go unchallenged is that many families considering home education may well be deterred by such nonsensical information which usually comes from people who have never actually knowingly spoken to a home educator in their entire life.
In a world where we should be accepting of different people and different cultures and lifestyles, it would seem sometimes that where home education is concerned it simply hasn’t yet funnelled down far enough to reach us!
Just because a family or an individual doesn’t conform to the norm, rather than view them as weird, surely we should view them as an inspiration?
Just because they don’t have a mobile phone embedded into their hand or feel the need for expensive materialistic objects and are simply happy to embrace the simple things in life, is that really such a bad thing?
Just as with those who choose a conventional educational choice for their children, those who choose an unconventional choice should not be viewed any differently.
I can honestly say from first hand experience that since starting home education, I view people very differently. In an interesting twist, I now look at the type of people who I would class as ‘normal’ before in a completely different light.
We have never been ones to ‘conform to the norm’ ourselves and I now realise that by trying to fit in with their ideals, I wasn’t been true to our own.
Just because other people don’t share your views about home education, all that it simply means is that it just isn’t right for them but that doesn’t make it any less right for you.
If you are thinking about home education for your family, you can check out some of my earlier blogs just here:
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