Why Homeschool?

Why Homeschool?

In my last blog I mentioned how I am encouraged by Mordecai’s resolve to stick with his decision.

One area where this has encouraged me of late is in relation to homeschooling.

For most of us, how we educate our children is not an easy or obvious choice. There are many factors to consider: location, cost, time, peers etc.

About 5 years ago we made the decision to give homeschooling a go. But the impacts of that decision are only really coming to life now my eldest is school age.

I’m conscious there are certain experiences he is missing out on that being in a traditional school setting would give him.

It can also be very hard work at times

Most people we know are sending their children to school, and occasionally I feel like I’m going to lose my nerve!

But I’m convinced that, at least for now, homeschooling our children is the best thing we can do for them.

I’d like to share some of the journey we went through in coming to this decision.

 

A bit of background

My husband and I both have cousins who have been homeschooled (for different reasons). Because of this we knew it was an option. But I had never thought I would homeschool my own children. My concerns about socialisation, coupled with the amount of work it would be, put me off even considering it.

My husband was more open minded about it and thought it was at least worth researching. He always said the final say would rest with me, given I would take on the lion’s share of the teaching.

So, trying to stay open minded, I began looking into it. At the time we had only just had our first child so we were in no rush to make a decision.

 

What about socialisation?

The first thing you notice when you start looking at the research on homeschooling is that (according to most studies) homeschooled children have better than average social skills. – e.g.peer interaction, leadership skills, family cohesion, participation in community service and self-esteem. They’re also found to be more tolerant of different political views, when in higher education settings.

Huh? Was my initial response. But as you dig a little deeper it is easy to see why.

Most parents who homeschool take their children to groups to interact with other homeschooled children. Unlike school, these other children are usually all different ages. They will also be studying very different things in diverse ways, and their parents have varied reasons for homeschooling. Children learn the skills of making friends in an environment more akin to the ‘the real world’ beyond school.

Homeschooled children usually have a higher proportion of interaction with adults and as a result learn social skills from them, not just the children around them. And because you are able to supervise your child’s interaction with others you can advise them on how to improve their social skills in more specific ways.

In a school setting you have little control over the social values of the children and teachers that your child will spend the majority of their time with. You might get lucky, or you might not. Personally, I have spent a good proportion of my adult life trying to unlearn certain behaviours I picked up at school!

Finally children are protected from bullying – a huge issue in schools –as well as peer pressure. Children can decide who they are, what they are interested in and what to do with their lives, without the various pressures of the school playground.

 

Academics

Nothing can beat one to one tuition. No school can tailor a child’s curriculum to match the child’s needs in the way a parent can. You can spend as long as you need to on some skills, if the child is struggling, but race through others if they pick them up quickly.

Studies show that homeschooled children academically outperform children taught in school, regardless of the parent’s level of education or whether their parents have had teacher training.

 

Efficiency

The government spends between £3,000-£8,000 a year per student in UK primary schools. On average, homeschool families spend £600 a year. And that is for a tailor made education!

In school there is a lot of wasted time on registers, queuing, waiting for classes to settle, school runs etc. Children are also told what to do and when most the time.

Malcolm Gladwell famously said that to become an expert you need to spend 10,000 hours on your chosen subject. Whilst studies have proved this is not necessarily true for all fields, most people would agree that the more time people can spend nurturing their gifts, the more skilled they become at them.

In a homeschool environment essential learning can be completed in a couple of hours in the morning, leaving the remainder of the day for children to pursue their unique interests and talents. 

 

Faith

A big part of the decision for us as Christians was faith related. We are keen to spend time teaching our children about God’s character, his love for us, and how he wants us to love one another. 

We felt sending our children to school would massively limit our opportunity for this, at least in the week. From what we have heard of other families, getting kids to school in the morning is a rush and children come home tired. Their alert and formative hours are spent in school.

We also want to protect our children from things that we saw and learnt in school, even primary school. We don’t want our children to be naive about the world, but we also believe it is right to shield young children from certain things, until they are old enough and mature enough to process them.

 

In conclusion

Once we’d looked into the statistics and the various reasons for homeschooling, we felt it would be right to at least try it.

However, we have always said we would see how homeschooling goes and may well change our minds in the future.  It is a massive commitment, and whilst, in theory, it sounds good, we’re yet to see how it will work in practice when all the kids (currently we have 4) are school age… Still, we are optimistic!

 

Tree of knowledge craft

 You will need:

  • Circle of card (green works well)
  • The whole stem of a bunch of grapes that have been eaten
  • Sticky tac (Blu or white tac)
  • Gold leaves (you could cut your own from coloured card)
  • Sequences, gems or beads
  • 2 different coloured pipe cleaners
  • 1 small pompom
  • 2 small googly eyes
  • Glue

Instructions:

  1. For the tree: Stand  your empty grape stem on the card using a good sized lump of sticky tac.
  2. Attach gold leaves and gems to the end of branches using small pieces of sticky tac.
  3. For the snake: Twist together the 2 pipe cleaners.
  4. Attach the pompom to one end by pushing the end of the pipe cleaners through the middle of the pompom then folding over the ends of the pipe cleaners.
  5. Glue googly eyes to the pompom.
  6. Balance your snake on the branches of the tree.

Optional – decorate with small flowers from the garden.

One Reply to “Why Homeschool?”

  1. That’s very interesting about home Schoolng, I hadn’t heard about this research. It’s reassuring about the socialization skills being better developed I agree that school environment is very confined and can lead to harmful impressions made on our vulnerable children. So many people who are bullied in a small class experience then take that harmful experience forwards to guide and shape their perceptions of the adult world. In the adult world there are bullies, but adult independence and resilience (if nurtured) hopefully allow the choice and freedom, to confront or avoid. Still, to balance out this comment, I should say I really enjoyed school and am glad I went.

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