I am home educating my kids

It’s 14.56pm on a Monday and normally about now I would start thinking about the fact that I have to pick up the kids. Except today they are already here. It’s not half-term (well, it is for some, but ours was last week); I have decided to home educate my children. I gave my friend the deregistration letter to hand in this morning to the head teacher. I feel scared, daunted, anxious, overwhelmed. But also excited, brave, proud, happy.

I could cry to be honest. I barely slept last night with so many thoughts rushing in and out. Mainly: “I have to sleep! I cannot handle my first day home edding with no sleep!” But then I just chilled the eff out and eventually I went to sleep.

So why have I made this decision? There are two parts to it really. First off, my eldest, who is 6 1/2, isn’t thriving in school. He was doing OK, but ‘under target’ and regularly saying he didn’t want to go. My youngest, 4 1/2, loves school but her anxious, people pleasing tendencies (hello, mini me!) are getting worse whilst there. And as an adult that is like that, I want her to realise that craving approval from people ain’t the best way.

Secondly, a friend of mine has been doing home education for a few years and I have watched from afar with great admiration and interest. I have read books, blogs, attended social groups recently and let the kids try their hand at new activities that are on offer in the world of HE: rock climbing for kids, hands on science club for youngsters, amongst other things.. In short I agree with the principles of HE: that kids can have a great education outside of school. Arguably, a better one.

There are lots of different ways to educate your kids outside of the classroom: from unschooling to structured learning. I can’t say what our style will be yet as this is day one. But I have a feeling we will do a mix, some structured learning (particularly for Bea who loves a workbook) and lots of self-directed, ‘real-life learning’ which can be anything from going to the grocer’s and working out what we can buy with the money we have, to getting our hands dirty building dens as we did this morning. Every night we will get the kids to read to us and then read something to them; we do this anyway and will continue to, but at their own pace and without the stress of worrying if we are keeping up with other kids.

Socially we will be attending loads of groups and having lots of kids round – school friends included. Socialisation is very high on the agenda.

My husband’s office is a long commute away, so he tries to work from home one day a week. On those days, with no dog to consider, we will take off, mostly on the train we hope – to museums, galleries, the beach!

With no expensive flights we can make the most of my in laws’ house in Spain – we are already planning a trip and will do a project on Spain whilst we are there. The flights will be a quarter of the price that they are in holiday time.

We are looking at it like this: it will be a one year thing, and then we will reassess. We are lucky to have a village school on our doorstep that will have room to let us back in. However, if we all love it, we keep going. But if we don’t try we will never know.

One thing that will be tough is fitting in my work, so yes you may notice a dip in post productivity, as you will have done recently (ha! This is why!). But I hope to write regularly about HE – and at times, like now, when they are playing upstairs, I will jump on my Mac and rattle off a post! Cooking wise, I want to get them more involved and most posts are just our dinner anyway, a quick snap taken before we sit down to eat.

I fully expect it will be very hard at times. I’m not daft! But I love being with my kids, even if they do drive me mad. I love days out. I love packing up sandwiches and a flask and taking off with the dog. I love watching them learn.

I also think I have a LOT to learn myself as I missed a load of high school due to truanting and just not paying attention. You see, school didn’t suit me. I was bullied at the very start which made me into a tough girl that I didn’t actually want to be. I disliked authority and working on subjects that I didn’t like. This all combined to produce a sulky teenager who refused to play ball. My poor parents! I scraped through with quite good GCSEs (despite no revision and massive gaps in knowledge) and then with terrible A Levels at a local college (they wouldn’t let me stay on at school!) I managed to get into uni through clearing, and got a good degree. I achieved this because I am fairly bright: it was despite of school, not because of it.

Some kids thrive at school – good luck to them. But mine (particularly Arthur) find it stressful and dislike being inside sat at a desk for so long. It’s not the teachers’ fault.

You only go round this life once. You only get one chance to raise your kids. I want mine to be happy and love learning. So that’s why we have chosen to try home education.

I hope you will support me in this choice for our family.

And now I will scream: AAAARRRGGGHHHH! Wine, anyone??!

 

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16 Comments

  1. February 20, 2017 / 4:11 pm

    That’s brilliant. Good luck to you. My son starts school in September and I am already unsure of it and open to home education if it doesn’t suit him (although my husband less so!). I look forward to reading about your adventures.

    • Rachel Brady
      Author
      February 20, 2017 / 7:31 pm

      Hi Emma – my husband has moments of panic – and he took a LOT of convincing! X

  2. February 20, 2017 / 5:36 pm

    Oh Rachel!!! How exciting! I can honestly say home educating Alice was the hardest, but most rewarding experiences ever! We found it a little more challenging because we are in the middle of London and I was finding it hard to get out and about with the kids on public transport. Everywhere was always so busy and EXPENSIVE! But I’m in the process of negotiating a part school / part home ed with Alice’s school because I love the socialising aspect of school, but I hate the fact it is so long and she is forced to learn even when she’s not feeling it!
    You’ll be great. My only advice is to take off the pressure. If you planned a structured day and then the kids aren’t into it, just change it round and try again another day. Thats the beauty of it though!
    I’m so excited to read your journey (and get activity ideas! Haha!) xx

    • Rachel Brady
      Author
      February 20, 2017 / 7:31 pm

      Thanks Emma! I completely agree – no pressure, and I really hope you get your situation sorted with Alice X

  3. February 20, 2017 / 5:58 pm

    Welcome to home education 🙂 found you via tag on instagram. If.you check out my blog you’ll find a blog hop featuring a bunch of bloggers showing of lots of different ways they’re home educating 🙂

    • Rachel Brady
      Author
      February 20, 2017 / 7:30 pm

      Hi Jax – thanks! I will def take a look! X

  4. Robyn
    February 20, 2017 / 6:09 pm

    Good for you. I left teaching when I had my first child because of the way education was heading. As a teacher I couldn’t be the fun, inspiring, loving person I wanted to be in the classroom because of the huge pressure of target setting, planning, preparation etc etc. I now have 3 children. I don’t feel like I could home educate them, but I have often thought about it. I think you are going about it in a really sensible way. I’m not sure I could cope with the intensity of our relationship if we were all at home all the time. Good luck! I’m looking forward to seeing how you get on.

    • Rachel Brady
      Author
      February 20, 2017 / 7:30 pm

      Thanks Robyn – it reassures me that so many teachers are into the idea of HE or actually do it themselves after they leave teaching X

  5. Anna Sloan
    February 20, 2017 / 6:43 pm

    Wow well done Rachel, I think you are brave but equally you will be brilliant and like you say if you don’t try it, it will always be in the back of your mind! Life is too short!

    • Rachel Brady
      Author
      February 20, 2017 / 7:29 pm

      Thanks Anna! X

  6. February 20, 2017 / 8:27 pm

    Congratulations!! Our kids, now 8 & 6, I’m proud to say have never been to school, nor do we ever want them to. Home education can be whatever you want it to be. I wouldn’t have it any other way. After all, they grow up so fast that you need them with you for as long as possible. We love being with our kids and working for yourself is a perfect vehicle for it. Good luck and have fun!! Laura

    • Rachel Brady
      Author
      February 21, 2017 / 10:03 am

      Hi Laura – I love to hear from people who are doing ut and really happy so thanks for getting in touch! Early days but so far so good! X

  7. Sj
    February 20, 2017 / 11:04 pm

    It sounds great and I’m sure the kids will benefit so much. Will love to see how you get on; I’m just not brave enough. But who knows!!! I definitely have so many issues with the school system mainly taking away all his creativity; will love to see how you get on. Very inspiring!! Give me a shout when you’re in London next xxx

    • Rachel Brady
      Author
      February 21, 2017 / 10:02 am

      Hi SJ! Yeah me too – and there is another way! School is there as a really important piece of society but if you can do it another way then why not? I’d love to catch up at some point! Equally if you are ever in Peak District..! X

  8. Lesley
    February 23, 2017 / 9:03 am

    Woooh Rach i’m so pleased to read this.. We’re in our 4th year of “let’s try it for a year” LOL! It’s such a wonderful lifestyle all based on freedom and choice.. So happy to share this journey with you in our community xxx

    • Rachel Brady
      Author
      February 23, 2017 / 10:31 am

      Ahh thanks Les! As you will no doubt realise you are the friend I allude to! I wouldn’t be doing this if it weren’t for you so thanks for teaching me all about it! We need a night out to celebrate! X

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