Homeschool or Go To School, What Are My Options? 

Homeschool or Go To School, What Are My Options? 

They’ll need socialising!

How can you teach them everything?

What about when they have to go into the big bad world?

I was in the throes of one of those lightbulb moments, the ones you get when you realise that you don’t have to follow the crowds. After all, we live in a democratic society where freedom of speech is a staunch British value within the ethos of our daily lives. And it struck me, I have a choice. Do I have to send my child to school or is home schooling an option?

My littlest is years off starting school but I’m all too familiar with the fact that time flies by so quickly.  One minutes you’re queuing up in Clarks to get those first tiddly-tiny school shoes, the next you’re waving them off as they fly out the door to catch the school bus mumbling a begrudging “bye Mum.” without so much as a backward glance.

Triggering heart pangs of grief and regret as you recall the hugs and tears they once had as they clung onto to you, not wanting to go to school.

And it’s those moments I’m dreading.

to home school or not home school, that's the question!

I have two older boys who are at the stage where they would rather be with their friends 24/7. Where school is the sanctuary from the separation they feel from their peers at home (and my chore nagging no doubt.) But my littlest has a whole school experience ahead of him and if I’m honest, it’s not a phase I’m in any hurry to step into.

There were so many times when my boys didn’t like school though. My tween was very open about it, for teenager it was seen in less obvious ways; chewing nails, tears at bed time (both of us), his self-esteem rock bottom and just a general feeling of finding life so very hard. He had very borderline sensory issues which made sitting still and holding a pencil difficult. All things which were fundamental in his learning.

He still has glimmers of these mini struggles but self-taught coping mechanisms and acceptance, as well as a love of being a secondary school meant he’s got by. But for both my boys there were times when I just wanted to defy the norm and teach them myself, and to opt for a life of homeschooling.

I’ve been reading a fellow bloggers experience of taking her daughter out of mainstream and homeschooling, and there is no doubt that Renee has done the best for her child but what really struck me wasn’t her words but that of Polly’s 

“I get peace and quiet, but school was too noisy for me. I really like spelling tests”

Don’t get me wrong. It’s courses for horses and having worked in a school (and loved it, I should add) as well as having two teachers in the family, I am by no means anti school, plus both my older two are thriving in secondary. And that’s what throws me. They’re summer born babies, just like my toddler, and seemed to be forever playing catch up both mentally and educationally. The pressure of SATS really took their toll and they endless fears of failure became a constant source of bedtime counselling sessions.

So as I ponder over past school experience and throw in the words of Renee and Polly. I’m an older, wiser and more confident mum when it comes to making decisions for the future of my littlest and last child,  so I’m left with the question;

What reasons should you home school and do I have one?

Many thanks to Mummy Tries for inspiring me to write this post. 

Should i consider home school?

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19 Comments

  1. 2nd February 2016 / 9:56 pm

    I am so in the same place as you right now… My son is just 3, and whilst I don’t have older kids in school I have a passionate teaching career behind me. But having always championed schools at every chance I got I am now finding myself moving closer and closer to homeschooling my son. Not just homeschooling either – my research so far has led me to massively identify with the attitudes and approaches of unschooling (something I’m beginning to explore on my blog), and the more I look into it the less I want to subject Arthur to the structure and conformity of the classroom! I think it’s partly to do with where the education system’s going under the current government – under labour there seemed to be an increasing emphasis on play and emotional literacy which has all been washed away by the Tories. But it’s also to do with whether our children should really be starting school this early at all… So much international research indicates that 7 is a much more appropriate age, by which point their personalities are much more strongly formed. I’m not yet at the stage where I have to make any final decisions, but I suspect I will be starting out at home and reconsidering my options when he’s a bit older… Anyway. Sorry for the ramble – as you can probably tell this is on my mind rather a lot at the moment! I’m sure we’ll both figure it out in the end… X

    • 2nd February 2016 / 10:37 pm

      that is exactly how I’m feeling. When it was play based learning until year 2 it was fine but after seeing the pressure it put my older boys under and like you say, it seems to be getting worse, then I don’t know if I can do all that again. at the very least I’m thinking of deferring until he’s 5 as 4 is way too young and I suspect its more about getting parents into work and getting free childcare via the schools.

  2. 3rd February 2016 / 8:45 am

    What a brilliant post Ali! Thanks so much for the lovely mentions. Home school certainly isn’t for everyone, but it’s definitely working for us. I’ll be sharing this later xx

    • 3rd February 2016 / 8:47 am

      So glad you like it Renee. Your post was inspirational and to hear it in Pollys words really struck a chord for me.

  3. 3rd February 2016 / 10:16 am

    This is such an interesting post to read. I have a 4 and 5 year old and have been thinking about school and homeschooling. School just doesn’t sit right with me, there just isn’t any room for individuality. I don’t think I have the patience for homeschooling but I wish there were more options.

    • 3rd February 2016 / 11:22 am

      My quandary is that my son is very sociable and I think he’d need the buzz but I also think it would suppress his personality like you say. There’s no room for valuing individual qualities

  4. Linda Hobden
    3rd February 2016 / 10:33 am

    I’m lucky that I live in a village with a good village primary which has a homely feel about it that I had no hesitation about sending my children to school – home schooling wasn’t an option I have ever thought of – all 5 of my children enjoyed going to school and were happy there. I think school helps children to socialise not only with their peers but with other adults outside of their family environment, which is important and to give children a sense of routine and be independent.

    • 3rd February 2016 / 11:23 am

      That’s lovely that you’re children have had a good experience of school, I’ve visited smaller schools and know what you mean about the homely feel. Maybe that’s an option for my boy ?

  5. Emma T
    3rd February 2016 / 11:55 am

    For those who could see home schooling working, or have had a hard time with other children in school I can see what a hard decision it can be. Especially with all the stress of applications as well. For me it wasn’t even an option – school is what I believe is right and works, and that’s what I enjoyed, plus I work so there’s no way I’d want to give up the money I earn and having my own life to try and home school to the level I’d want to.

    Good luck with your decision.

    (If you’d like to, come and link up over at my #schooldays post – it’d be great to see you there)

  6. 3rd February 2016 / 6:42 pm

    I find this all so interesting, it scares me what will happen if Baby get into the wrong school or in with the wrong crowd. She will be schooled to start with in France, but I would love to look into homeschooling more x

    • 4th February 2016 / 10:25 pm

      Do they start the same age in France they they do here? It is very much down to peer pressure so i can totally see where your fears are coming from.

  7. 6th February 2016 / 5:10 am

    Personally, I prefer going to school to fully develop the child’s social skills. But whatever works for you and your child!

    • 7th February 2016 / 4:13 pm

      That’s how use to think but I can see other ways to get around it like Cubs & joining up with other home schoolers

  8. 6th February 2016 / 6:45 am

    We decided to homeschool as I felt like 4 was too young to start school and to be honest, I didn’t want to spend so much time away from my children. Cherry would have started last Sept but didn’t and so far things are going so well. It was definitely the right decision for us. If you did want to know more about it then jointing all the home ed groups on FB is a good way to do it. There are local ones to find it what’s going on in your area and big ones like Home Education UK that have lots of useful info 🙂 x

    • 10th February 2016 / 10:03 pm

      thats really good to know. I think I’ll definately defer until he’s 5 as he’ll be quite young still and then see how it goes from there.

  9. Amanda Donnai
    5th May 2016 / 3:04 pm

    Having stumbled across your blog recently -love it by the way- I found this topic really interesting and couldn’t resist chipping in (being a primary school teacher and having experienced homeschooling myself). Being a summer born I understand your concern about starting school too early and I remember feeling like I was constantly behind so maybe deferring until your son’s 5 would be a good option. However, during my teaching years, I’ve found that summer born’s often excel, especially if the right support is provided at home. As for promoting individuality, most of the teachers I’ve worked with make an effort to nuture children’s talents and do their best to help them flourish – there are always after school clubs, weekends and holidays to focus on any particular skills you / your child would like to hone.

    When it comes to homeschooling, I’m afraid I’m not a great fan. From aged 12 to 14 I was educated at home; it was stifling and unrelenting for all involved. It did little in building my confidence and independence, as I had a limited social circle despite belonging to guides and attending piano lessons. I can only imagine this would be harder for a child of primary school age because they would not have had the opportunity to gain these skills in the first place – an hour of guides here, a swimming lesson there does not equate to the time spent developing social skills at school.

    As a mother of a 1 year old,  however, I do understand your quandry. My maternity leave is almost over and I’ll be looking to return to a workplace where teachers and pupils are being overwhelmed by ridiculous tests and a prescriptive and uninspiring curriculum. So, give me another 4 years and we’ll see which side of the fence I’m on when it comes to sorting bub’s schooling… I wish you luck in the option you choose 🙂

    • 7th May 2016 / 11:44 am

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story and you pretty much answered my fears. I think my next step is to find a school with teachers just like you describe, unfortunately my older Childrens experience of primary school wasn’t of teachers who brought out the best in them. The pressures to get the best SATS results outweighed any time for value added nurturing, there was one who was amazing but the there was also a teacher who did a lot of damage to both the boys self esteem & they were terrified of her so learnt very little. Can you teach my boy? You sound lovely!

  10. Sandra
    22nd January 2017 / 2:12 am

    I just wanted to add that I do homeschool my son who is 10 and my daughter who is 8. We live in Albuquerque, New Mexico and our schools are ranked 48th out of 50 in the U.S. (really bad). Even though my children were in a faith base private school there was a lot of riffraff coming in from the public schools, this was one of my concerns. The other issue was that, even though they were in the 2nd and 3rd grade they always felt something wasn’t right about me walking away after I dropped them off. And I always felt uncomfortable doing it. Even in the 3rd grade when I would get my son he would tell me that he thought about me all day and that he missed me and I felt the same way about my kids. Then one night around 3 in the morning I woke up and felt God telling to bring my kids home, and I did. We get all our school done in 3 hrs and my daughter attends art class on Mondays, then they both have a homeschool class on Tuesdays and my son has a Minecraft coding class on Wednesdays and since they stayed connected with their school friends they always have playdates and birthday parties to go to. It’s been so wonderful. These are critical years and I would rather be the one influencing my children now than having other children influence them in negative ways. I will tell you that if your a mother struggling with this decision you will ultimately know without a shadow of a doubt whats best for your children, and this is coming from someone going through a nasty divorce. Trust your instincts.

    • superuser
      22nd January 2017 / 8:28 am

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share this, I love reading positive home schooling experiences. I hope you manage to keep strong during your divorce. X

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