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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.

tutorhubTheir 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.


8 Responses to “Why Home-School? 5 reasons parents educate out of school.”

  1. Matthew Barnes

    I could not agree more with all of the above – particularly the point about ‘socialisation’ at school inevitably being a negative experience. We lock people up in prison as punishment and yet we see essentially the same treatment of our children as being ‘necessary’ and desirable. For a lot of children it simply isn’t!

    I hated every moment of my traditional schooling – I was ‘different’ as I was a gifted child and thought deeply about things. As a result I attracted bullying at every school I attended and this made my life a misery. The pace of the classes was ‘one size fits all’ – I could have easily taken A-level biology at age 13 or 14 but by the time I was ‘allowed’ to do so at 18 I had burned-out and crashed-out spectacularly. All that the school ever seemed to focus on was my inability and unwillingness to play silly ‘games’ and my poor handwriting and numerical ability. I remember being lectured almost daily by my (rather conventional) mother that I had to remember that “Not everybody is as clever as you are, darling!” When you have experiences like being told by some idiot child in the playground (as a result of knowing something in class and foolishly volunteering the information) that “you didn’t know that – you read it in a book” (followed by the usual punch) I was a bit sceptical about the intelligence of most of my colleagues anyway and preferred the company of adults. For me school was an unremittingly soul-crushing experience and I learnt little of any use to me that I could not have taught myself.

    Now that I am a private tutor I see a lot of home-schooled pupils. They are inevitably high-achievers, bright and confident in the presence of adults (whom they perceive as equals rather than the ludicrous Victorian ‘sir’ or ‘miss’) and rarely cowed or surly in the way that school made me become for many years. It baffles me why so many parents have children – their greatest investment – and then leave the programming of their minds to complete strangers who are usually purveyors of received wisdom rather than trainers of the open mind.

    I feel a blog of my own coming on! Many thanks for this illuminating and thought-provoking article.

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  2. RossMountney

    Many thanks for your endorsement and taking time to leave your story – such a familiar one! And your brilliant points.

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    • Matthew Barnes

      My mind was rather concentrated as I wrote that response by the howling of my girlfriend’s son in the next room who has Asperger’s syndrome and simply refused point blank to go back to school for the new term today. His mother is concerned that he will not be ‘socialised’ if he drops out of conventional schooling. My own experience suggests otherwise, but he is not my son…

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      • Sally Smalley

        I so so agree with everything you said. Thanks for sharing your story. My eldest son is similar to you, he would have been crushed by school, where as I home educated him from the start and he is such a pleasure to have as a son. How many Mum’s of 15 year old lads say that I wonder?

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      • RossMountney

        Feel for you Matthew! Difficult enough dilemmas always with parenting. But thanks for commenting.

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  3. Janet Dubac

    Thank you for this! It made me learn so much and helps me to decide what will be best for my child. I love your point about poor achievement. As a child, I have trouble with math but the problem was the teacher wasn’t just not patient to slow down and repeat everything for slow learners like me. I think if someone was there to guide me through (slowly, that is) I would have understood math problems much better. I do not want the same thing to happen to my child because it lowers self-esteem.

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    • RossMountney

      You and so many like you Janet whose learning needs are not properly attended to. It amounts to educational neglect! Thanks for leaving your story.

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