Are you considering homeschooling your child? If so, you are amongst an increasing number of parents. According to a BBC report the number of children being homeschooled rose by around 40% between 2014 and 2017.
There are many reasons parents choose to home educate their children including bullying, being penalised for missing school due to poor health, failure to meet special educational needs, the inflexibility of school life, or general disillusionment with the education system. If you are considering home educating your child, you will have your own personal reasons. The purpose of this blog is to help you to weigh up some of the pros and cons.
The government judges schools on test results. This can lead to ‘teaching to the test’. As teachers cram children’s heads with exam-passing information they are in danger of depriving children of the opportunity to gain in-depth understanding of subjects and to enjoy learning. Homeschooled children can learn about history in historic buildings and museums, science in laboratories, geography out in the field, and literature at the theatre. They discover that learning is life and not restricted to one room.
2. Personalised learning
Outside a class of thirty, teaching can be tailored to meet an individual child’s abilities, interests and learning styles. You can research different methods including Montesorri and Waldorf and find a method or combination of methods that suits your child. You can nurture your child’s abilities giving them the time and space they need to learn at their own pace – no self-confidence damaging bottom sets! Your child can be taught through their own interests. If your child loves cars then they can be taught maths and English around the theme of cars.
3. Focussed attention
Teachers don’t just teach. They have paperwork to complete – an energy-sapping, time consuming mountain of it! They have government initiatives to comply with, meetings to attend, and so much more. You are free from these obligations which gives you more energy and time to plan, teach, address your child’s misconceptions, and reinforce learning to ensure there aren’t any gaps.
4. Higher academic attainment
It’s difficult to find UK data comparing the academic achievements of homeschooled children to those in school. However, data from the USA is available for scrutiny. A study by Sandra Martin-Chang of Concordia University (2011) suggests that homeschooled children achieved higher academic results than their state schooled peers.
As far as the UK is concerned, the benefits of one-to-one tuition are well recorded. Although parents may lack teaching experience, the advantages of individualised tuition can outweigh this. Children who receive personalised support achieve higher academic results, have a greater depth of understanding and are more confident in their abilities.
5. Broader arts education
Arts subjects are being increasingly sidelined in mainstream schools due to lack of funding and the pressure to achieve academic results. However, learning art, design and music is invaluable for children’s emotional and brain development. Research has shown that learning to play a musical instrument strengthens memory and enhances spatial reasoning and literacy skills. Arts subjects are enjoyable, bring a sense of achievement, foster creative thinking skills, and celebrate humanity.
6. Fosters an entrepreneurial spirit
In deciding to home educate your child you are modelling an entrepreneurial spirit. You are not simply slotting into the system. You are setting your own goals, and forging a new path together with your child. You and your child need to be self-motivated and take responsibility for learning. Read how Richard Lorenzen, founder and CEO of Fifth Avenue Brands says that being homeschooled inspired his entrepreneurial spirit.
7. Improved family relationships
Homeschooling means spending more quality time together so strong bonds develop. You can both learn to ice-skate, explore nature at the park, visit a city to understand human geography, and bring literature to life with a theatre visit. Learning is a shared, mutually enjoyable experience.
If you home educate your child you won’t be able to work much, if at all. You will also have to buy resources, find money for activities, and pay exam costs. On the positive side, some activity centres and museums offer discounts for homeschooling groups, and the cost of home educating your child is less than private school fees.
Home educated children are exposed to fewer world views and generally have less opportunity to socialise with children from different backgrounds. They will not have to negotiate and learn to deal with conflict to the same extent as children attending state schools. This can make them less resilient and less tolerant of others. Although homeschooling groups will give your child opportunities to build relationships with others, it’s still a concern.
3. Parental qualifications
Teachers train for years and they have extensive experience teaching a variety of subjects. Your local authority will get involved if they discover you aren’t providing your child with an adequate education. You must be honest with yourself about weak subject areas and address any issues by educating yourself through distance learning or in-person classes, by employing private tutors for your child, or a mixture of both.
At TutorMyKids we can find you experienced, professional maths, English, science, humanities and language tutors who are qualified to teach from primary to A Level. All our tutors are proficient in adapting their teaching styles to children’s particular learning styles, personalities, interests and levels.
4. Access to higher education
Home education isn’t a barrier to higher education. Most universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, will consider home educated students as long as they meet the same requirements as everybody else.
However, college staff have considerable experience in supporting children to select the right universities and write their applications. As a parent you will need to fulfill that role which is especially hard if you haven’t been through the system yourself. You also need to find a suitable reference for UCAS since this would normally be your child’s form tutor.
TutorMyKids A Level maths and English tutors can support your child with the admissions process. They can write a personal reference, read through your child’s application and provide any guidance they need to help them meet entry requirements.
5. Your work-life balance
When you homeschool your child, home is work and work is home. You are your child’s teacher and their parent, and it’s not easy to balance the two roles.
You might face opposition from family members and friends who don’t agree with your decision to home educate. This can be stressful to cope with, and it is important to remember that those people are expressing concerns because they care for your child.
Both you and your child will need some time apart. For your child, it’s important for their independence, and for you it’s to recharge your batteries. If you have time to pursue your own interests and see your own friends then you will return to your child happier, healthier and more energetic.
Deciding to homeschool your child is a huge step which requires considerable thought.
If you decide to make the leap, TutorMyKids can find you home education tutors who will work alongside you to provide an individually-tailored, high quality education for your child.