School is fine when it’s working. Not so great when it isn’t. And it was during the long summer holiday, when we noticed such a difference in our children’s behaviour, we began to suspect it wasn’t working for ours that well.
Their smiles returned and they stopped niggling at each other – and us. They seemed happier and more at ease, more biddable and willing to compromise and get on with everyone. Their robust health returned; all the constant little infections and miseries they had during term time magically disappeared. Best of all, their desire to learn was restored, that desire which motivated them to do so much when they were little. It was a relief to see, we thought school had switched them off to learning for good. So it cinched our decision to educate them outside school. And talking to other home educating parents we found they had similar reasons for trying this approach. Reasons like:
– Unhappiness. You might think happiness is not the point but unhappy children do not learn well or achieve their potential. Many children are unhappy with the environment of a school, many don’t like crowds and noise, we are all different and if not suited to the school environment it can be a struggle to succeed. It can even make kids ill.
– Ill health. Many children suffer headaches, migraines, stomach problems, infections, constant colds and some suffer more serious illnesses from school stress if they feel unhappy, insecure, worried or put down and their needs are disregarded. Many of these little illnesses cease when they come out of school.
– Bullying. Many parents cite bullying, both by other pupils and staff, as the reason they choose to home educate.
– Poor achievement. Children have differing learning needs which can be overlooked by staff with no time to individualise. Some kids need more time to learn, some race ahead and can be held back. Interestingly, parents often find their child’s ‘learning difficulties’ as they are named in school disappear with other approaches.
– Poor relationships. ‘Socialisation’ is often mentioned when people ask about home education assuming that school is the best place to become ‘socialised’. But much of the social interaction in school is enforced, of poor quality, disrespectful, threatening and is not always the best place to learn social skills or learn about loyal and caring relationships. All this can cause much suffering.
But children can be educated without suffering of any kind. As thousands of parents who educate out of school are now discovering.