Katharine from Ceredigion shares her experiences of home educating her youngest son
The decision to elect to home educate my son at the end of year 8 was not an easy one.
My older children had thrived in mainstream school and had achieved great results, which saw them attend university and have careers they both loved.
But my youngest had struggled from infant school and I’d resigned myself to that being one of those things – ‘he’d catch up’, I told myself. But he didn’t and I just felt that I needed to do something before his self-esteem was on the floor and his aspirations for his future deteriorated past a point of no return.
The Education Inclusion Officer (EIO) was very helpful and a talk to our support worker from Team Around the Family really helped. It was important to talk to my son too and to look at the positives and negatives, so we drew up a list that looked something like this:
- One-to-one sessions
- Multiple subjects covered in 1 piece of work
- Work at own pace
- Learning on your own
- Some subjects not covered due to lack of expertise
- No interaction with peers during the day
The list went on but overall the positives outweighed the negatives. Each one of the negatives we had listed we then set about turning into positives. So for example for the learning on his own and for some subjects not covered due to lack of expertise, I found information in the user guide for Electing to Home Educate resources.
This included information about ‘topic boxes’ from our local museum, which were available for loan over a 3 week period. The box we chose was World War II, which contained several items from the period, quizzes, information sheets and preform search sheets where we could visit a memorial plaque and then research a serviceman who was named on the memorial.
Not only was this very interesting but it also got us both out and about and my son was doing history, geography, English, I.T and some science (how gas masks worked). He also visited the museum several times and found himself talking to visitors and staff about the subject.
I think looking back it was all about turning the negatives into positives and even the social activities with peers wasn’t a problem after he joined Air Cadets, a local church band and a youth group, so he is out 4 nights a week and most weekends, while doing his studying during the day. Flexibility was also key, with some structure to the day but also plenty of free time for a cycle ride, a trip to the swimming pool or even just lunch in the park.
As a mum what I have observed is he’s not tired after school every day, upset from being bullied or frustrated with endless homework, tests and deadlines for coursework.
The topics have all been student led and have ranged from World War I & II, Chernobyl, the Stock Exchange, Global Warming, ospreys, antiques to steam power and much much more.
Homeschooling isn’t for everyone and it was not a decision either of us took likely, but almost 2 years on it’s the best thing I ever did and certainly things have turned out better than expected.
I wanted to share this story with you as I would have welcomed the opportunity to speak to other home educators in the early days and even now as we go forward with decisions about getting qualifications and my son’s career ideas.
I hope this helps with your homeschooling. If you have any great suggestions to add then use the comments section below.
Like this article? Check out some others:
- Guest Blog: ‘10 Things Under £5’ in North West Wales for Families
- How to Avoid Debt & Invisible Money
- Top Tips for Your Family to Save Money
- Guest Blog: ‘5 Things Under £5’ in South Wales for Families