School Is Optional: Part 1

Yes, you read that right. In most countries in the world, parents are not obligated to send their children to school.

But parents do have a responsibility to see their offspring receive…

An Appropriate Education.

But there are other ways of doing that besides sending your child to the school that your government provides. For many parents of means, this is private education.

The one that I want to explore in this series, though, is:

Home Education.

It is an option with which I am very familiar. I have home educated in two countries, the US and UK for a total of almost fifteen years. Of my six children, five of them have been home educated at some point in their lives.

How did that work out?

My ex-husband and I home educated our four for the first five years. We did so for religious reasons, at the time, and followed a rather structured approach with workbooks at the dining room table. I believe that this early home education provided the solid foundation upon which schools could build. How did they turn out?

My oldest graduated a prestigious UK university with a 2/1, moved into management with business, then returned to the US and joined the Navy, where he has excelled.

My older daughter went a less traditional route. She got a certification in childhood studies and worked for five years as a teaching assistant, helping autistic children in schools. She then retuned to university where she graduated with honors in educational studies. She then completed a masters in gender studies and now works for one of the two universities in the UK (not in a teaching position though).

Another son took the totally traditional route of sixth form to university. He graduated with a firsts in Maths from one of the top universities in that field. He then spent two and a half years teaching in China before returning to the UK to get his masters. He is now pursuing his Ph.D. from that other top ranked university in the UK.

Not bad, huh?

Even my special educational needs son, who the social workers said would never hold a full-time job or live on his own, had done both of those things.

I continue to facilitate the self-directed learning of my youngest daughter, who is multiply neurodivergent. She was enrolled in nursery and then reception in London. But the schools were unable or unwilling to meet her unique needs. When she was bullied to the point that her mental health deteriorated my ex-husband and I agreed she would be better off home educated. She has now been home educated for almost almost a decade.

And we were right. Home education was the best thing we have done for @PanKwake. Those photos are just some of the incredible educational experiences we have had over the past nine years.

Of course, it took time for her mental health to improve. For the first couple of years, she continued to ask me if she was stupid or ugly. But today, she is incredibly happy, self-confident, and thoughtful human being. I do not believe she would be any of those things had she remained in schools.

In fact, we have a schooler friend the same age with similar issues. Her experience has been horrid. And while I will not assign all the blame for this young woman’s mental health to the schools, they certainly bear some of the responsibility.

But don’t take my word for it, see what @PanKwake has to say about home education for yourself.

That video is a couple of years old, but this morning I was woken at 5 a.m. by an ecstatic @PanKwake going on and on about how she had managed to use her voice-to-text and e-reader to finally make comments on WattPad. You see @PanKwake is severely dyslexic. She may never read more than 100 words. But home education has allowed her to move beyond that label, to learn in ways that work for her, while maintaining her self-esteem.

So, this week as schools get set to return in the US and the UK, I want to share a bit more about home education with you.

In this series, I want to explore:

  • Why? – Some of the reasons that home education may be the best option for your offspring, your family, and you.
  • What is education? – More specifically the differences between schools, education, and learning.
  • How? – What are the laws in your area? How to legally home educate?
  • How to? – Explore some of the differing styles of home education.
  • Resources – Provide you with links to some of my favorite options.

Home education is not for everyone. These past few months have proven challenging for some parents. But for others, they have re-connected with their young person in ways they may not have since they went to school. They and/or their young person may dread going back to school. But many people may not even realize they have this option. This series is for them. To let them know that they have other options.

Tomorrow, we begin with – Why? Some of the reasons that home education may be the right option. I hope you’ll join me for that.

Published by Tara Cox

Writer of Literary Erotica Real-life, hot sex, deep meaning... In my day job, I am homemaker, home educator, urban farmer, and homesteader at our @HomeCrazzyHome.

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