Home education challenges and how to keep smiling

Home education challenges are daunting but something we learn from even in just one day.

I had slept very badly the night before. My two home-educated children had a row about a game. This was a very silly time for me to try and encourage my 11 year old daughter to tackle some numeracy work. She downed tools, curled up in a ball and refused point blank to get involved saying “I like art not maths!”

Ever since starting the home education path, I have worried that I will damage my children in some way and leave them unable to deal with life. I brood on this and it haunts me as I want to do the best for them.

So with fatigue playing its part I am ashamed to say I got cross and may have shouted too. This was, of course, counter-productive. My husband suggested I leave things for a while with me accusing him of always being able to go off to work whilst I have to deal with home education as well as everything else. Tension mounted.

A Challenging Home Education Day

It was not long before I sought advice from the Home Education UK Facebook group. I was reminded that I am human and will not always get things right. I was told that school teachers have bad days too. I was urged not to beat myself up emotionally. I was given practical tips including the new concept to me that maths can be taught through art and music.

Then I made my daughter a snack and we had a hug but only after she told me it was going to cost me. She is her mother’s daughter!

She picked up a fashion design book and cd-rom and played with that for over a hour. She was then in a good mood and happy to do some maths questions that I had set for her on a wide range of topics. She answered the question “Why do we need to learn maths?” with “Because schools want us to eat numbers”. I am sure there is deep meaning in that somewhere.

Later as we watched Lewis and a bomb blew up lots of maths books but left an artwork undamaged, I pointed out that this summed up our day in some ways.

My daughter replied, “Art will always prevail!”

We went to bed at peace and ready to learn another day.

If anyone has good tips on teaching maths to someone with a passion for art, please do share them.

What are your home education challenges as a family?

If anyone has the secret to not stressing as a home educating mum, do let me know! I know that I find this home education writer and her blog very helpful on the wobbly days.

Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.


  • Katie

    Unless your daughter has specifically asked about maths I wouldn’t worry too much. When (and if) the time comes the course work for maths GCSE can be covered pretty quickly.

    Self care. Rest. Hydration, exercise – All those things really help me. And it’s is okay to just put on a movie sometimes!

    The connection is key. Without not much learning happens ime

  • mama syder

    I wouldn’t worry. My home ed Daughter (who is now an adult) is an artist and while home edding, her work mainly consisted of fashion, fashion and more fashion. We taught her maths by teaching her basic budgeting skills, percentages etc. We set her tasks to put together a fashion board of outfits for a (pretend) client by window shopping online, picking outfits to a set budget then getting her to work out how to do percentages by pretending the items were in a sale with say 25, 35 or 70% off the retail price. It worked for us very well and stopped the dreaded maths arguments. You can do it with all sorts of budgeting scenario’s. If she decides later on that she wants to study maths at a higher level then she can x

  • Rachelradiostar

    Hi Kate,
    Look up ‘fixed mindset and growth mindset ‘ stuff by Barry Armer.
    Our school has had him in and we all are using his Learning Pit model
    The children have really taken it on board. The main idea is they have to get used to being in the pit. They might be in there a while, but eventually they will climb out. You can email me for some more pointers if you like xxx

  • The Beesley Buzz

    sorry you had a tough day but so great to see the humour in it too – i love your daughters quotes and what happened in that film.

    One of my biggest ‘failures’ with home -ed was the days we tried to force things when either the kids or me weren’t in the right frame of mind. We’d all end up stressed and nothing would get done when perhaps i should have sensed earlier on in the day to perhaps have an outing or do something more creative with them instead.

    My middle son is struggling big time with maths at the moment (and he’s really into art too) so if you find the answer to that one – let me know!

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