Why don’t you home educate both your children? Why has she been at school yet he’s at home?
This is a question I have faced a lot over the last few years, from many angles. Sometimes it’s from people who don’t home educate and want to know why we have one in school and one at home, and sometimes it’s from home educators who have never had a child in the school system here in the UK. Sometimes it’s just people who are curious at the options we have chosen as a family. I don’t mind answering and explaining why we have chosen to home educate one child and the other child has been in mainstream secondary school and now will be going into sixth form college.
My children are thirteen and sixteen. We have been home educating our son since he was eight years old and left school at the end of year 3, in the UK primary school system.
To be clear. We didn’t intend to home educate. We decided to pull him from school when he was in year 3 and she was leaving in year 6. It was a decision we didn’t make lightly and it took me a long time to come to the conclusion that this was the best choice for him at the time. In the UK parents can choose to home educate their children, legally, and many do choose that. De-registering your child from school is less complicated than you might think and although we did have to work with the Education welfare team (our local area tends to be a little reactive when a child is removed from school to home educate, I have since learned) we followed the process and became a partly home educating family fairly smoothly.
We’d had a rough time year 5 & 6 for her, and a rough year 2 & 3 for him.
I did at one point tell her that I would be happy to pull her from school, at the start of year 6, for the year and we could try again at secondary school. She decided she wanted to stay at school. I have, partly in jest, but also partly seriously offered her to be at home several times since then. And obviously she was at home during the stay at home, time of covid, doing distance learning. In fact, her secondary school was so supportive during lockdowns and also afterwards as the children returned to school, that it cemented our beliefs that we made the right choice for her to be in school and not at home.
The reality is, that my kids are VERY different and whilst her primary school experience from Year 4-6 wasn’t what it should have been, she has thrived and blossomed in secondary and it has been an excellent experience (there was no option to move her to another primary, believe me, we looked) and she is a lot like me, and we both know that potentially her being home educated by me, probably wouldn’t have worked. Just like I loved school and being home educated by my mum would definitely not have worked. She and I are on the same page.
Her brother has different needs and he is better at home, at a different pace.
We’ve done what’s best for both children. I’m not a school hater. I think for some children school is a good place and for some it isn’t. The system is a bit broken and it doesn’t suit all children and we are able to have options.
We’ve done both and continue to do both. She will go to 6th form college and likely university. He will be at home for GCSE’s and probably a dance school of some sort from 16. He will likely do A levels but not at the same pace as a traditional 6th form.
We hold our choices lightly. Life can change. The plans you make often do. Parenting for me has been the realisation that it doesn’t always work out the way you wanted or thought it would but sometimes actually, that is ok.
So, now you know. We have one in the school system, and one being educated at home. This works beautifully for us, and that’s the main thing. Our choices may not be the ones someone else would make but in all things parenting, that’s also ok.
You can find out more about how we homeschool in our weekly post series, where I share what we get up to each week and how we plan and what curriculum we use.