5 Reasons NOT To Homeschool in the UK
Hi, folks. Bet you never thought you’d see a post with this title on here! This is something I’ve been musing over for a while; I get asked why we homeschool almost daily (see my super long list of 40 reasons here!) and I am very passionate about how wonderful homeschooling has been as a choice for our family. We have many homeschooling blog posts including posts on homeschool resources, socialisation, support groups and more.
I am pretty evangelistic about home education; I see it as a brilliant lifestyle choice with endless learning opportunities. I see it as a way to get off the hamster wheel and really connect as a family; to experience real life and learn relevant, necessary skills and dig deep into hobbies and passions.
It’s a chance to leave absurd amounts of standardised testing and bullying and rushing out of the door with no breakfast behind, and to say yes to late night trips to the park and exploring museums in the week when they are practically empty, and to cups of hot chocolate and poetry with the kids- just because.
Having said that, I have come across a few (a very few, mind you, but a few) people who chose to home educate for reasons that I don’t think are in the best interests of the child. My #1 reason for home educating my children is that I wholeheartedly believe they are having a better life than if they went to school, and it is a lot of responsibility and effort, so it bothers me that parents might be choosing to do it for the wrong reasons.
5 Reasons NOT To Homeschool
External pressure. Your mother-in-law / dad/ neighbour / friend from NCT group/ uncle’s dog’s best mate’s cousin wants you to homeschool. Either because they do, or they think for religious reasons it’s better for all kids, or just because they like to make people do what they want.
Choosing to homeschool because someone else thinks it is the right thing for you is going to end no better than doing anything else without intrinsic motivation- you are likely to end up resenting it. Home educating is a deeply personal and huge choice and is definitely not something to do because you feel forced into it.
You want to make sure they only hang out with people of the same religion/ ethnicity/ culture. I don’t know how parents who do this think their kid’s future is going to work out if they are only surrounded by people who think in exactly the same way as them, but it can’t be good.
In the real world there is an endless variety of beliefs and religions and opinions, and children need to be brought up able to cope with this and able to maintain their own sense of self and identity while mixing with others. Learning to peacefully disagree is an essential part of life and children shouldn’t be prevented from an environment where this is an option.
You can’t be bothered with the responsibilities of school. I mean, don’t get me wrong- I LOVE not doing the school run, and having a super flexible schedule, and not having to iron uniforms. But home education means that you are taking 100% responsibility for your child’s whole education without delegating the majority to school, and that is one heck of a responsibility.
You need to be willing and able to provide a full time, age appropriate education for all of your home educated children, and to liase appropriately with the LEA if they contact you regarding your child. You also need to be able to meet your child’s social as well as academic needs and this means making extra effort to find social groups and friends for your child as they don’t have a ready-made group at school. Home education is not the easy route so don’t be fooled!
You want to get the council to pay for a tutor because you don’t like the school’s provision. This, (apart from for a teeny tiny, ever-decreasing sliver of cases for children with additional needs) won’t happen. If you home educate all the financial burden is on you to provide tutors and classes if you want to use them.
You want to hot-house your kids and create child geniuses. If you have a very bright child homeschooling might be a great option for them (very bright children are often bored in school) but putting extra pressure on your child to perform in any way is a terrible idea.
Homeschooling might give academically gifted children the freedom to take classes more at their level and use resources that are more appropriate for them than their peers’ grade level, but it also needs to be balanced with plenty of time for free play, creative arts, outdoor activities and fun social activities.
Good Reasons To Homeschool
There are many excellent reasons to homeschool and these are as varied as the families that choose to home educate. Many people think that home educating is a last resort for children who have experienced bullying or other serious issues at school, but it is increasingly a first choice of education for children in the UK.
We chose to homeschool for many reasons and those include:
- Higher adult to child ratio compared to schools
- More quality time as a family
- More quality time playing and learning in ways that suit our children’s individual learning styles and needs
- Concerning mental health rates and academic outcomes in schools
- A more flexible lifestyle that allows for increased learning through travel and hands-on experiences
More Homeschooling Blog Posts
If you are considering home educating your child, you may find my other articles on homeschooling useful.