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Home Schooling - is it worth it for parents?

February 28th, 2020
Chrissie
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Home Schooling - is it worth it for parents?
Home schooling is something most parents contemplate at one time or another for a variety of reasons. In recent years, an increasing number of parents are ‘taking the plunge’ to educate their children themselves as they feel that they can give their child a better standard of education. This is certainly not a decision that should be taken lightly as it is a huge commitment and whilst there are many positive points, there are also negative ones that must be thought through carefully.

Why consider home schooling?

There can be many reasons that may trigger your thoughts about home schooling. Often parents are unhappy because their child has been given a place in the local authority school that they do not like and securing a place ‘out of the catchment area’ can be almost impossible. Parents may feel unhappy about the ideology that the school presents and would far rather their child shared theirs.

Often parents of children with special educational needs feel that their child is not getting the type of help they need in the classroom environment – especially in large classes where there are no classroom assistants to give the extra support needed. Children are often passionate about certain topics and many parents feel that if their child’s enthusiasm could be harnessed by lessons specially designed to appeal to them, that the results could be excellent!

In the unsettled world we live in, there is also a concern about the safety of children in schools and the problem of bullying, which unfortunately can occur at the nicest schools.

Interestingly, in the Unites States, home schooling is more common. In the UK the law states that - ‘ home schooling is given equal status with schools under Section 7 of the Education Act 1996, which states "The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him/her to receive efficient full-time education suitable (a) to his/her age ability and aptitude, and (b) any special educational needs he/she may have, either by attendance at school or otherwise."
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What are the big plus factors?

Most children thrive on one-to-one tuition and this could certainly help your child tremendously. You will also be working at your child’s pace and will be able to spend extra time on topics your child is struggling with. You will be able to adapt some lessons to include your child’s particular interests, such as making sure all your maths questions feature dinosaurs!

You will be able to take your child out and about more often to visit museums, galleries and other places of interest.

What are the real costs to consider?

To make home schooling work, a considerable amount of time needs to be given by one parent and this means that they are unable to work and the family must rely on a single wage packet. This factor in itself needs careful consideration as many schools offer a free education. Homeschooling is not easy as it is a full-time commitment. The parent must put in plenty of prep time for each day’s lessons and also prepare tests and organise field trips and other outings. There will be the latest text books and other teaching materials to buy including software programs – and maybe even a PC too! You will be able to buy curriculum papers online to ensure that your child is following the designated course for each subject.

What are the negative points to consider

The first big negative is the lack of facilities as it is unlikely that you have a fully equipped science lab or art studio in your home! Most schools also have good gyms and sports fields, so you will definitely need to think about whether you can access such facilities.

Home schooled children will need to be motivated and this can sometimes be difficult without any competition in the classroom. It can be difficult to keep your patience with your child when you are spending so much time together and he isn’t in the mood for learning!

What will you do about teaching the subjects you are not so good in? Is it worth getting a home tutor for these? Another alternative is to ask around about other home schooled children to see if there is the opportunity to ‘pool resources’ for certain subjects.

Lessons at school are only one facet of education for children. Socialisation is just as important for your child’s development. In the school environment, your child learns how to interact, how to make friends and how to work with other people. Your child mixes with children from many different backgrounds and learns many social skills including sharing, honesty, compassion and tolerance. A child being home schooled does not have these opportunities and it is vital that he/she is given the chance to regularly mix and play with a wide variety of children.
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How do colleges view home schooled children?

With 130,000 children being home schooled in the UK (2019 figures), colleges are happy to accept applications from home schooled students but require that they have certificates for formal qualifications such as GCSE etc. Interestingly, a number of professionals in top professions have been home schooled so it is definitely not seen as a negative. As the UK website teacherstoyourhome states -
UK research has found "home-schooled children to be developing as well or better socially, emotionally, and psychologically than institutionally-schooled children."

HOW DO OTHER PARENTS VIEW HOME SCHOOLING PARENTS?

Unfortunately, whilst you will meet other parents who admire your decision, you will meet plenty who don’t! Both friends and relatives will question your decision to home school. In fact, family get togethers and dinner with friends, will always have a common discussion point – guess what? Homeschooling! You have to be extra brave when going to your child’s sports club or dance school as the ‘in crowd’ mums will give you funny looks…

Who cares? If you are happy with the decision you made and your child is happy and progressing well, bravo, it was definitely the right decision for both of you!

Chrissie x

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