Because the system is broken.
Whether it’s starting them too young, or oversized classes, the system is not ideal. Maybe the odd child who fits into average finds it ok, but most of us are looking for a lot better than ok. The one size fits all education system is failing so many children. Large groups of kids feeling uninspired, unheard, left behind or just totally bored. And no we are not raising brats who just do what they want.
We want their love of learning intact
Remember how curious your little one was when they saw a
butterfly? A bee? A dog? How they wanted to know everything? This is what we
are hoping to nurture and nourish. What we want is for our children to grow up
wondering, to grow up being curious, imagining and investigating. When they can
do this in their own time, in their own way, something quite magical happens…
They get to become who they really are
Ideally we want our children to be free to love what they love without fear of judgement. If they love bugs and need to spend weeks even years discovering all there is to know about bugs, then they can. The young scientist can blossom. The young dancer, the young writer, the young gardener, the young builder, can spend hours following their passion. There is no looking sideways wondering if the kid next door is going to tease you because you like classical music. The peer group is your loving family.Yes, they do have friends.
Yes they do have friends
They have friends. Some are younger, older and some are grown-ups. Friends come in all shapes and sizes. They are other home educated kids, school kids, kids from dance class, sports teams and random kids they meet at the park. As they get older my children’s friends are spread far and wide. The kids talk online and we meet up at regular home school camps.
Learning is more child focused
We want our children to learn at a pace that is right for them and not dictated by a ‘grade’. Giving our kids an individual education is such a gift. The early reader can excel, the late reader can feel comfortable and proud of their achievements. Children are respected for their differences and are able to delve deeper into areas that interest them and move quickly through those that don’t.
Learning is less structured, less contrived, more real.
Life teaches us many lessons. We are hungry we prepare food.
We are camping we make a fire. A pet dies we dig a grave. Mum is having a baby
so we learn about pregnancy. These lessons come along anytime, anywhere.
Handling money is learnt through handling money. Small business skills are
learnt through lemonade stands and business ventures. Sometimes we have to
manufacture the environment, but mostly we try not to. We know we are going ok
when we see their love of learning intact.
We can travel
Experiencing life in other countries has enabled us to learn different languages and learn about other cultures. We can travel for longer periods, saving money by renting places long term, in off peak times. Think of all that money we save on school fees. We can take advantage of midweek specials. The idea is that travel will take us out of our comfort zone and take us to places we haven’t been (both literally and figuratively).
We have time for things that the system has little time for
Music has been a large part of my children’s education. They have had time to learn and practise an instrument and grow their love of music. They have had time for orchestra, performances and long hours of practise for assessments. All this is done in the daytime, not in an afterschool rush or early morning before school time slot, to slam the most out of the day. My artist has grown her talents through hours of self-study and good old trial and error. Time is the key here.
My dancer has fitted her studies around hours of dance practise and is currently in the audition process for her first musical theatre production. She paces herself through the day, breaking up her study with stretching or a walk, all self-motivated. (This girl is 14) Yes the basic three R’s are being addressed, but with a particular focus for each child to allow creative time for who they are and what sparks them to unfold.
We can connect
As my older kids go out into the world, I value even more the connection we established through their younger years. I see their need to create their own life, but also the love and feeling of security they have developed within the family unit. The sense of self that emerges is beautiful to watch.
Over ten years in, I wouldn’t have it any
There are moments where I am so overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to have this time with my children. There are others when I crave an empty house just to sit and drink coffee and write. My go to thought though is always that it has been worth it. Not easy, not simple, not convenient a lot of the time, but worth it.
My original plan when my oldest was 6 was to give home education a try for a term. Here we are around 11 years later and that six year old is making her own way in the world. Closely followed by her three siblings, all designing their own futures as we speak.