When John started Year 5, I discovered that he has the ability to concentrate on a particular subject if he really liked it. But schools follow a curriculum and must move on. John asks so many questions, I felt there was not enough time to satiate his curiosity. Also, I tend to be easily frustrated when I teach him. It was like a battle between me wanting him to move on to the next and him wanting to know everything about King Henry. Because I have been hearing about home education, I started reading and researching on the subject. The more I learned, the more convinced I was that this was the best style for John and my other two boys. I thought, we should at least try. If it won’t work, we could always bring them back to a regular school.
It was a lengthy discussion between my husband and I. He was concerned with the boys’ social skills. And the preconceived notion about kids being home educated. Ideas like these kids may be mentally and emotionally unstable – in other words, different. Such far-fetched idea is disputed by statistics. London Evening Standard newspaper reported that 15,000 families are estimated to be homeschooling in Britain, which is a 50 percent increase over the year before (1996). It is thought that 100 children a month may be leaving Britain’s state schools to begin homeschooling. Now, it’s estimated that over 50,000 children are home educated in the UK and the figure is rising by 80% per year, and they can’t all be weirdos, can they?
Ross Mountney, in her book Learning Without School says:
“Children make friends at school because they happen to be at school. When they’re out and about in other communities like home educated children are, they make their friends there. There are thousands of home educating families and the community grows daily. With all the online networks children soon find others to connect with.”
“Aside from that children make friends at their vocational clubs and lessons (football or dance for example) so there are always others to hang out with. ‘Socialisation’ is not an issue at all when you home educate as long as you are prepared to mix in the normal way you would in life anyway.”
We decided to take this head on. I left my office job to be a facilitator of learning for my kids. We have not regretted the decision ever since. The joy of seeing them grow, doing things together during rainy days and sunny days – what more could I ask for?