Home educating and how my journey began.

 

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So September is  almost over, and for most of us the busy season of back to school is in full swing.  For me it certainly is and life is busy, busy, busy.   So I thought it would be timely to share my  homeschooling journey with you.  This September is our 4th year of homeschooling and there are still no regrets.

Our reasons for home educating:

We were in the process of moving home and I was looking for local schools to send my children to.  So, as you do, I looked up the Ofsted reports of the  local schools and to be honest, I wasn’t that impressed.  Now, I am not a snob; I grew up in East London (big up Forest Gate) but I didn’t like what I saw, or rather, read.  I am thankful and recognise it is a blessing to live in a country where education is free for children and I give credit to the education system as they taught  my 2 oldest children to read, write and much more.  However, because of my findings, I was at a loss as to what schools to choose from and so spoke to a couple of trusted friends who are also  teachers to get some advice.  Rather than advising us what schools to choose, they encouraged us to homeschool instead.    They came round a few days later,  explained homeschooling  further, in particular with one curriculum, that we are still using now,  and my husband and I were sold.  Thankfully we were in a position to homeschool as I was a stay at home mum, looking after our 1 year old son and pregnant with our 4th child.

So as you can see, nothing drastic happened to cause us to decide home educating our children.  The education system did not fail my older children in any way; they weren’t bullied and they learnt quite a lot while attending state school, however it was becoming  apparent that the State was taking more and more control away from the parent, AKA – me, as to what my children could be taught, even if I did not agree with it, in particular the LGBT agenda, which I hear and see is being greatly promoted in schools now.  I was also disappointed in the sex education lesson my son would have endured in year 5 had I not exercised my then parental rights and removed him from the class, which I believe parents no longer have the right to do.  My husband and I decided to teach my son and daughter about sex biblically and used this fantastic resource to help us; a book called ‘The Talk: 7 lessons to introduce your child to biblical sexuality’ by Luke Gilkerson.

I was excited to start home educating my children but the next step was  to tell  my children that they would not be returning to conventional school…eeeeek!

My children’s response to the news:

I was quite anxious about telling my 10 and 7 year old that they would not be returning to state school.  I didn’t know how they would feel about receiving an education at home, and it being with me. We prayed and asked God to prepare their hearts for the news and to prepare our hearts for their response. We were pleasantly surprised when they responded with happiness and  excitement.

What about socialisation?

I get asked this question quite a lot, and honestly, socialisation  is not an issue for home educated children. There are so many groups and activities out there that are available for homeschooled  children  as well as attending after school clubs, if the parents so wish, where they can mix with other children. Being  home educated doesn’t produce introverted, shy, individuals who do not know how to communicate, as some people like to think.   Just spend 5 minutes with my 2 year old and you’ll see that is not the case at all.

The Curriculum we use:

I starting using the current curriculum we use as that is what was recommended to us when we were encouraged to home educate. The curriculum is Christian and called A.C.E  which stands for Accelerated Christian Education. ACE comes under a body called TEACH (The European Academy for Christian Homeschooling), and it works so well with our family because of its structure.

Using ACE gave my children who came from state school,  structure and set lessons in different subjects  in the form of booklets, or PACEs – Packets of Accelerated Christian Education. At the time of us starting homeschooling I  had a 1 year old and was pregnant with my 4th child so had lots of things keeping me busy and tired.  The  PACEs provide lessons in English, Maths, Science, Literature and Creative writing, Word Building (spelling and the structure of words) and Social Studies (geography and history). It took the pressure off me to research/pull resources together, do lesson plans etc in order for my children to receive an education. It was all done for me.

ACE have a curriculum from nursery to University level and I love the fact that they teach scripture memorisation  and Christian Character traits in every PACE.  It is also very self led, (apart from nursery and preschool level) with the children taking responsibility for their learning and how to manage their time efficiently from a young age.

My 2 and 4 year old are thriving  with the nursery/preschool curriculum being confident in their alphabet, phonics, counting etc with my 4 year old becoming a confident reader and writer.

Which curriculum to use?

There are soooooooo many different curriculums out there to choose from, (most, if not all, being American) and it can be overwhelming and difficult to decide which one to use for your family.  If you are considering homeschooling, take some time to look through the different ones available.  You may even find that you don’t strictly stick to one curriculum but take parts of different ones to make up what your children learn.

Joys/benefits of homeschooling:

  • Having my children with me throughout the day,
  • Seeing my children learn, gain knowledge and knowing I am a part of that learning,
  • Being able to speak to and pray with and for my child instantly when issues arise,
  • Being the first one my child turns to when they are hurt, need help, want to share a joke etc simply because I am there,
  • Having time to create more memories with my children,
  • Knowing all of my children’s friends and having relationships with their parents too,
  • Being able to take holidays during term time and avoid extortionate prices
  • NO SCHOOL RUN!!!  Yippeee!!

Things you may not know about home education:

  • You do not need to be a qualified teacher to home educate your child/ren, just a parent.
  • As parents we have the right to homeschool, if we so choose, so long as we can provide them with an education.  Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 states that “the parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable-(a)to his age, ability and aptitude, and (b)to any special educational needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise“. Home education comes under ‘otherwise’ 
  • It was only made compulsory for children aged 5 to 10 to receive an education in the 1880’s, (approx 140 years ago) with State funded schools being introduced in the nineteenth century.   Prior to this, children were taught at home, aka home educated, at Sunday Schools, in voluntary schools or didn’t receive an education.

I do hope this article has shed some light on homeschooling and I would love to hear  your thoughts on this topic.  Do you homeschool your children? Are you thinking of homeschooling? Would you like to but cant right now or will you never homeschool your children, like some of my friends say?

Please remember; being a homeschooling  mum (or dad) doesn’t make you a better parent, although you might be a more patient one, and children who are home educated are not more elite, better or weirder than children who attend state schools.  Whatever choice you make in how your child receives their education, is your choice.

Next week Ill be sharing my top tips for having a successful homeschooling day.

Until next time

Annie J

xx

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