I want to write about the reasons I struggle with home education because it will stop the thoughts and feelings whirring in my head so much. I am not against home education but I really struggle on almost a daily basis so I want to share the reasons why that is the case.
It wasn’t my choice
I am freedom-loving by nature and I did not choose home education as such. It chose me when my daughter was bullied by pupils and her Head Teacher. I was interested in home educating when I became a mother but my husband ruled it out so I went down the traditional route placing my children in schools. When my daughter was threatening self-harm that had to change and quickly in her case and her brother did not feel he should go to school if she did not. Perhaps I gave in too easily in his case but it was a very stressful time. That’s just the first reason I struggle with home education.
I have a lot on
The truth is that the bulk of housework falls on my shoulders. I try so hard to keep the house clean and tidy but with dogs in particular and children too that can be challenging. I seem to go from room to room spotting dirty surfaces, floors that need sweeping/steaming, toilets that need flushing/cleaning and so on. It is endless and soul-destroying.
I am also not in the privileged position of having a husband on a great wage so I need to make money. I have the flexibility of freelancing but also the pressure of constantly having to find work which has been in short supply recently.
I do think it is important that there is something of me left in the mix too to avoid collapsing into depression so I am taking more time out to read, listen to music and so on.
My children have different learning styles
I think I could do OK if I was home-educating just one child but I have two on this journey and they have very different needs and learning styles. My daughter is like me, able to decide what her passions are and to pursue them with impressive focus. She is quite self-sufficient but I worry that she is doing things she likes rather than covering all the things that would be covered in a school environment. My son has passions too but would spend all his time gaming if I let him. He likes to learn with me cuddled up doing work-sheets or whatever. I struggle with home education because I do not know how to balance their needs.
I don’t know what I am doing
I don’t have teaching qualifications. I am relatively bright and I had a good education but how does this equip me to teach my children adequately? I veer between being convinced of different schools of thought regarding home education anything from leave them to their own devices and see what emerges through to a focus on the National Curriculum. Then I get myself in a tizz wondering why we need to know the stuff in the National Curriculum most of which seems fairly irrelevant to life skills and jobs except in the most specialist areas. Then I convince myself I am neglecting my children by taking them out of school in the first place. Then I start envying parents who send their children to school or even put them in boarding school so they can leave it to the perceived experts and not have to worry too much. I don’t know what is the right or wrong thing to do or even if such things exist.
I get very little help
As with so many areas of life, I get very little help from my husband who initially said he would take on the maths and science teaching. In three years or so that has equated to two kitchen science experiments and a few maths worksheets. I am a baby I suppose but I just feel like screaming and do sometimes “It’s not fair!”
Don’t get me wrong! I do think home education has loads to offer and I see other parents carrying it off with aplomb. It can be magical and I want it to be for us but I am in the mix so perhaps that is impossible.
Well, I am glad I got that off my chest and will be sharing wobbles from other home education parents soon.