Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Why home educate?

There are so many reasons that people home educate.  I can't tell you all the reasons as there are as many different reasons as there are families home educating.  However, I can tell you why we do what we do.

To be honest there are so many reasons that I did choose to home educate my children.  I suppose the home education thoughts started for a few reasons.  One being that when I started my eldest at pre-school they were already putting her in the 'slow learner box' she was also changing rapidly in personality become more and more within herself and she was only 3!  I certainly knew she was far from a slow learner.  I used to read a lot to C,  being that she was the only child I had and she loved her books, it was easy to get through 10 or more short stories in one sitting.  She now devours books quicker than I've ever seen, probably more accurately noticed, other children read;  she was also speaking in full sentences, like 'I'm not a baby, mummy,' and 'Can I have a juice please when she was only 15 months;  She was also learning maths at an incredible rate.  Not something I would associate with a slow learner.  I didn't want her to be let down by a school so at first I searched for a better one.  I knew that she would be bored at school when one day when I was reading, as I usually did, a book to her, 'Hop on Pop'.  I was so surprised to find she started reading along with me and when I went quiet she continued reading all by herself.  I had never even tried to teach her to read yet there she was either 2 or barely 3, I can't remember now, but there she was reading Dr Suess as if she'd been reading for years!  I checked that she was actually reading by going quiet and sure enough she continued to read the following 4 or 5 pages solo!  I was shocked and had never seen or heard of any child doing this!  I now know that there are others, but nonetheless, still impressive I think.  I had thought that reading was something one could only do if one was taught, but it seems that is not always the case.

That's when I started to think that no school really would be suitable for her educational needs.  That she really would benefit from continuing to learning the way she was and for us as a christian family, certain subjects I would deem as unsuitable due to my christian beliefs.  It's not that I want my children brought up to be ignorant.  It's just I wanted, and felt it is my obligation as a christian parent, to teach them these things from a christian point of view. 

It wasn't until one day at church I was talking to a friend and I got round to the 'where do your kids go to school?' question.  When she answered with 'they don't, I homeschool them.'  Suddenly memories of when I was 11 years old sitting in my mum's car waiting outside school.  I was listening to her and her friend talking about another friend and the fact that they that homeschooled.  Of course, as a child the first thing I said in response was 'Can you home educate me Mum?'  Unfortunately my mum didn't have the confidence to do so.  I remember thinking to myself how I would want my kids homeschooled to, that it would be much more fun as a child to have the freedom to learn at home.  School wasn't so bad for me at the time, but I still saw home education as better.

I had huge concerns when she started at playgroup.  C had been such a good girl but after a couple of months at the playgroup and her behaviour was changing.  However, that was not the thing that truly pushed me over the edge, no, that was when the leader of the playgroup took me to one side to tell me my child was 'a little slow.'  'A little slow!' I exclaimed in shock, my eyes bulging.  At this the lady thought I was seriously asking a question, so began to explain to me what she had meant, as if she thought I was slow too.  So when informing her that my daughter could read, count to 20 in french and beyond 20 in English, she looked sternly at my little 3 year old and said looks as if we're going to have to push you a little more.  I realised this was the reason for my little girls new behaviour and that it was the reason she was becoming more and more introvert.  I spoke to my health visitor about my concerns and she brought home education to my attention for a second time.  She pointed out that I had managed to teach her all she knew so far so why not educate them myself?  So began my adventure of home education.  Who'd have thought a health professional from the NHS would have been the one to encourage what is seen as such a 'radical' idea to most of their colleagues.

I must admit I do feel that my school let me down.  There were a couple of teachers who really cared about their pupils but on the whole, the system was a let down.  I didn't want to put my trust in people who I knew nothing about and leave them responsible for my daughters education and a good chunk of her up bringing.  I'd done ok so far with the girls I figured, so I might as well carry on and see how far I could get.  Well that was the theory and now I plan never to send my children to school.

With this choice came battles though.  My first battle was to convince my husband that we could educate our children and that neither him or myself needed to be a qualified teacher.  It was hard at first as he had always loved his school days and, of course, the socialisation question was bantered about but I dug my heals in and as you can see I won!  Then there were his family members.  Surprisingly, it was my husband's dad who was more supportive, I had expected him to be thoroughly against it. It was actually his mother and grandparents who were the ones with all the questions, frowns and suggestions of trying school first.  It was frustrating but I stood firm.  They're all very supportive now we've been doing it for a few years.  They see how happy and bright they are and how much more they are learning at home than some of those at school learn.

So here I am.  Except I have 4 gorgeous girls to home educate now and we are having the most wonderful adventures.  There are the ups and downs, but, the ups are so incredibly high!  Home educating my children has been one of the best decisions I've ever made!

6 comments:

  1. A lovely post Lisa thank you for sharing your reasons. I always find it such a hard question to answer as there are so many reasons why. It's always the people you least expect to be supportive too! X

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  2. Thanks Zoe, Glad you liked it. I think I may do a list of pros and cons one day. Might take a while to finish though :)

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  3. Lovely post.
    I've been meaning to post something similar on my blog.

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  4. I love hearing about how people found out about home education. Everyone has a tale to tell.

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  5. Thanks Big Mumma Frog. It'll be nice to read your post when you've done it :)

    Isn't it KP Nuts :) I know I've always enjoyed other peoples stories. x

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  6. Hi Lisa, thanks for this story, C's experience sounds a bit like NP's. Always nice to hear of people who have been in similar situations. We've been thinking about HE since this time last year and withdrew NP from nursery Easter 2011. Best thing ever :)

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