There has been a sharp rise recently in the numbers of parents withdrawing their children from school to home educate.
Whereas many start their home schooling journey when their children are very young, it is now the case that some are coming to it later, when their youngsters have already become teenagers. This presents slightly different challenges, especially when the young people have been in school a considerable amount of time and are only used to a school approach to learning. In fact the whole family will be used to this routine and the switch to home education will take some adjustment for all.
Here are some things to think about to help that process:
- The biggest adjustment is in attitude and approach to learning and the working day, how this is all going to work out. Your learner may have become disillusioned with education from their school experience and it will take a while for everyone to see it in a different way, in a positive light, and as something you can take charge of and manage for yourselves.
- Don’t feel that it’s necessary to rush into intense academic study too soon. Learning at home has the potential to be quite intense and it’s important to feel your way and find other activities to balance the day.
- It really helps to talk to others and see how they approach their teens’ education. There’s a variety of blogs, organisations, forums and groups to connect with, some for parents some for the students. Spend some time researching and checking out resources, particularly Home Ed groups (quite a few on Facebook) where there’s a wealth of support.
- Young people are able to learn by themselves but it takes a while for them to appreciate this and to become independent with their learning. The parent’s role is more facilitating, guiding and helping to organise time and resources, than it is teaching.
- Time use; it is very different learning in the home environment without school distractions. Targets can be achieved much more quickly giving plenty of time for other pursuits. Other activities can be as valuable to development as academic ones, things like sports or creative hobbies for example.
- Many home educating families report that, once out of school, their relationship with their youngster improves. It will certainly be different as you adapt to pulling together as a team, building new respect and dialogue about education and what requires to be done. But it takes time. Open conversations about what each wants and how this is going to happen is invaluable at this time.
- Some families like to continue with the study they were doing in school and there are workbooks, courses and online tutors to support this. But it is just as possible to make other choices about what you do; the time frames and the subject matter, you don’t have to stick with what school kids are doing. Find out what others do and consider what’s going to work for you.
- Youngsters who’ve been home schooled from very young have usually built up a network of mates, usually of all ages, some from home educating groups others from the usual out-of-school clubs like sports, dance or gaming etc. Changing from school to home education can sometimes change friendships but gradually this settles down. It’s often a time when the youngsters really find out who their true friends are. If your youngster was on the receiving end of bullying at school it’ll take time to build confidence and trust again. There are opportunities to find new friends in online forums and home school groups.
Adjusting to home educating when the children are older may seem a daunting process. But most families find their way and are glad to leave behind the problems they encountered in school.