I thought today I would take a stroll through the alphabet and challenge myself to come up with 26 thoughts about home education.
Here I go.
Ability- education can be focused on what the child is ready and able to do. This helps children who may not be developmentally ready for something. The reverse is also true, children are less likely to be held back, when they are able to move on.
Box- you are free to think outside the box, and be as creative as you would like to be in how you approach your child’s education.
Community- unlike the school gate you aren’t stuck every day for a year with the same group of people twice a day. You can be a little more choosy about who you want to spend time with as well. The home ed community isn’t utopia, and people are people everywhere you go, but once you have found people that you get on with, and you find your tribe, it can be a really special thing.
Development-there have been lots of articles recently to suggest that the modern education system is out of sync with the way children develop and what they need most. You are able to take this into account more freely when you home educate. Younger children can benefit from play, teens can benefit from later starts are just two examples of research I have seen in the last 6 months that can be more easily implemented into a home educating lifestyle.
Expense- will vary depending on how you choose to home educate your children. Some people claim it is cheaper for them to home educate, others more expensive.
The one thing there definitely is, is more control over how much it will cost you, because you become the driving force and you get to set the budget. We have found that often we can organise cheaper sessions at school rates for home ed groups, making some activities cheaper than what we might pay after school.
Friends- despite what popular culture and the media would have you believe most home ed children form varied and multiple friendships over the years. The friendships they make are just as meaningful and deep as any a child at school might form. In someways it has been argued they can be more so, because a child gets to choose who they spend time with rather than having a default peer group provided for them in the form of a classroom.
Grades- learning becomes more than gaining grades and passing tests. It often happens with meaning, and can be relevant to the child’s life, interests and passions. It is often intrinsic and self motivated. The love of learning isn’t tested out of them.
Holidays- yup I went there.
You can take holidays when you want too.
Individual instruction- education can be centred around each individual child and their ability
Justify- one of the definitions of justify is;
“reasonable and acceptable, having good and valid reasons”
And it does. When you start to research home education, or speak to people who have done it, you find out there are really good justifiable reasons for people to do it if they so desire.
Keeping up with the Jones’s- is a thing of the past. Peer pressure can be very real. Your child doesn’t have to have the latest brand sneakers because every other child has them, you don’t have to invite every child to your party, you don’t have to think of bigger and better parties to have.
Life skills- There is time and space within the learning environment of the home to build skills that prepare your children for life outside of the home.
Memories- All families make memories so this isn’t a home ed thing, but looking back over our journey, I have the most beautiful memories of learning along side my kids, experiencing life together, and having a fluid not so compartmentalised life. There wasn’t home time, school time and uni time, like there is now with some of my kids.
Nurture- it is really lovely to have such a hands on role in nurturing your child and what they are interested in.
One to one- even in a larger family like ours, the ratio is better than the classroom, but even in our larger family there is more time to spend doing one on one activities with each child, simply because there is more time available to use.
Priorities- you get to live your life by what matters most to you. You set the tone, the vision and the journey your family takes this can be carried out through out their learning life too.
Quality time- I believe I have spent quality time with my children over the years. Sometimes that has been just having the time to stop and have an hour long chat in the kitchen with an individual child, or being able to structure in more planned activities or moments. I would also say, that we have also had quality time to spend with others as well, deepening our relationships outside of the home as well.
Restoration- sometimes when a child has had a bad experience at school they need to spend time being restored and healed. Whether your child then goes back into the education system or stays home, home education can provide that opportunity.
Springboard- sometimes the passions that kids have had the freedom to explore and develop while being home educated can springboard them into careers. That has certainly been true of my three that have gone on to university.
Technology- you can be as immersed or refrained from technology as you want to be. How you use it, and what you learn (or don’t learn) is totally up to you and within your control.
University- apprenticeships, jobs, freelance businesses, start ups. Yes, home ed kids go on to to do these things as well. Despite what is often portrayed by society in comments on newspaper articles, you aren’t jeopardising their future, you aren’t stuffing them up, making them unemployable, or crippling them.
Oftentimes you are preparing them for life in a more effective way, because it is often skills based, relational based and passion based learning.
Volunteering- if you and your family are altruistically inclined, then there are loads of ways you can help others in your local community and bring that into your educational journey.
Wherever/whenever- education can happen wherever and whenever you want it too. It isn’t confined to a classroom, or certain hours of the day.
X-Rays – ok a bit of a stretch, but hear me out. Sometimes people come to home education because their children are poorly. Home education provides a way for children to be learning, while fitting appointments, therapy or rest in schedules that work for them, rather than a school timetable.
Yawn- children are able to work according to their natural body clock. They don’t have to stick to conventional times for learning, but can sleep when they need to and work when they are most alert. This is super handy during the teen years, when they need more sleep.
Zig-Zag- If something isn’t working you can zig zag around it (see what I did there?)
To zig zag means to take a sharp or sudden turn. Sometimes that can look erratic and home education can feel like that, especially as a family figures out what works best for them. If something isn’t working you are free to change direction, take a turn or make a sudden movement if you need too.
So there you have it, my ABC of home education.
I thought it would just be a fun way of exploring some of the positive sides of home ed, and why we keep doing what we do.
If you decide to do your ABC’s please tag me in.