.I have now been home educating FJ for three months and I have learned a number of things since we began. I wanted to share these with you, especially if you are considering homeschooling your own children.
When we first started this journey, I was terrified that I may have been making the wrong decision. We all love our children so much and in the back of my mind, I kept thinking, what if I am making the wrong decision and things end up worse than before.
In England, it is always assumed that children will attend school and not much is said about the fact that we have the choice and right to home educate. Therefore, because it is something that is not ‘normal’ it can make you really worry and question yourself.
What we have learned since home educating
However, in just three months we have learned so much and are so pleased with the decision that we made.
1. You do not need to spend 7 hours at a desk each day to teach your child.
When a child is at school they may be there for seven-plus hours a day. However, they are not learning for all of that time. They have register, play time, lunch and assemblies. Then when they are being ‘taught’ they are in a class of 25+ children having to compete for attention. Other children distract them and disrupt the class and they get no one-on-one attention.
When we home educate we get through work so much faster as we can go at the child’s pace and they have our undivided attention. We also learn in a variety of different ways as learning does not only have to happen at a desk! Therefore, if you are planning to home educate, you do need to be ‘teaching’ your child at a desk for seven-plus hours a day in order for them to receive a full-time education at home.
2. You do not need to be a qualified teacher!
There are so many free resources available online to help with home educating, no matter which style you choose to follow. You can learn most things while teaching your child. If there are things which you are not sure about, a simple internet search will give you loads of examples and information. If your child is older and wants to learn about things which you yourself do not feel confident enough to teach. You could always sign them up to one of the many online tutors or learning programmes which are available for a fee. The most important point to remember is that you do not need any formal qualifications to home educate your child.
3. FJ has a brilliant and fun personality
Of course, most parents feel that they have fantastic kids with great personalities, but since we have been home educating I am seeing so much more. I think that this is due to two things. The first is that we spend so much more time together, I am having the opportunity to really get to know FJ and notice the little parts of her personality which all add up to the fantastic person that she is. The second is due to her being so much more happy and confident than when she was attending school.
I feel so much closer to her now and I also feel as if I understand her world much more than before. I am noticing the fantastic sense of humour that she has developed and how quick-witted she can be. I’m seeing how bright she is and hearing her brilliant and practical suggestions to solve problems as they arise. I am witnessing her kindness and compassion to others, it is a privilege to be able to spend so much time with her.
4. I am learning so many interesting facts while teaching
It is amazing the things you learn when home educating your child. I have been learning about sea creatures with FJ as we have been working on an under the sea topic and I am learning so much! Funny enough, I can’t remember being taught any of it when I was at school but it is so interesting. I love learning new things and it is great for FJ to see how interesting I am finding it, as it models a love of learning which I am hoping will be contagious.
5. FJ’s behaviour has really started to improve
It took a little while, I think at first, her behaviour actually got worse as she was testing the boundaries of our new lifestyle. However, over the last few weeks, I have noticed a dramatic change in her behaviour. Much less attitude and much more polite and helpful behaviour. It is a wonderfully unexpected benefit of homeschooling!
6. I really enjoy making interactive worksheets for topics and sharing my ideas
While planning our studies I love putting together topic idea posts and making interactive notebook templates which I like to share with others through my blog. Being a planning addict, I really enjoy researching ideas and making lists so it is great fun for me!
7. People will ask why FJ is not in school but are actually really interested when we explain
People will inevitably ask you why your child is not in school as like I said before, it is always assumed that children in England will attend school. When I tell them that she is being homeschooled people are always really interested to hear all about it. FJ always loves telling people all about what we have been learning. It is great to see her so excited and proud to explain all of the things that we have been doing.
8. More time for fun and family
We have so much more time and energy for fun together as a family. It also allows for FJ to pursue her own hobbies and interests, it is brilliant. When FJ was at school, she would come home tired. homework would need to be completed and before we knew it, it was the end of the day. Schools can also be very demanding, asking for donations, costumes, bake sales, fairs and trips. It would seem that every week I needed to do something.
Take all of that away and it leaves so much more time for other things. FJ is very interested in anime which is Japanese hand-drawn art. FJ now has time to watch it, draw it and she even cosplays it! She has just discovered fan fiction too. This is great as she is learning and working on her English skills without even realising it!
9. It costs as much or as little as you choose
Some people think that it is too expensive to home school. It really does come down to how much money you can afford or want to spend on it. Especially as the internet is full of free resources. You can also make use of your library where it is free to borrow books and you can borrow games and DVDs at a very small fee.
When FJ was at school I would have to pay for her uniform, book bag, lunch box and water bottles, school trips and a ridiculously expensive week away with the school. Then you have to donate to the different fundraisers and make or buy various costumes. Not forgetting all of the coats, shoes and other items which FJ lost, some of which were stolen. The money really adds up and can be difficult for those on a low income.
Since I have been homeschooling FJ, I have only spent about £10 more than I would have normally done and that was on print outs of the templates which I have been making as we do not have a working printer at the moment. Everything else has been used from what we already have. Educational trips do not really count as an extra expense as we would pay for trips out as a family anyway.
When she gets older, if she chooses to take GCSE’s then we will have to pay for those. Although when you think of all the money that we have saved by homeschooling her, it will not be any more than if she had been attending school.
Once my training has finished for my work from home job so I can start earning money we will have two incomes. Then I will be able to afford to spend a bit more on any resources that FJ wants or days out, but that is my choice and not a necessity.
So there you have it, our nine things which we have learned since we have been home educating over the past three months. I hope that you have found it useful and if you have any questions or comments then I would love to hear from you.
Don’t forget, you can check out my home education board on Pinterest for more home education inspiration.