Thursday 28 September 2017

How Home Education is different to School

I have a minor peeve about the term home school as it suggests that the only thing different about what we do is transport the classroom venue and have fewer pupils. Actually, home education is very different.

So we don't
  • have to follow the National Curriculum. 
  • have to teach from a secular worldview.
  • start and finish with school times. We usually do similar hours but we don't have to. This means that if the children have a late night, we can start later. Actual education, of course, lasts far beyond traditional working hours.
  • have to stay inside in "school time".
  • have to have a teaching qualification.
  • have to have the same holidays. 
  • have inset days-I rather regret this one.
  • have constant testing. 
We can
  • talk to the children about the Lord.
  • pray when things are difficult.
  • tutor the children individually.
  • individualise learning. 
  • let the children have major input into their learning. 
  • let the children be a part of caring for an older relative or anyone else, for that matter. Not, I hasten to add, in an arduous way but in terms of popping in and having a conversation, making a soup or picking flowers.
  • have activities that wouldn't really work in school: poetry teatime, having a picnic lunch in an autumnal park and more.
  • enjoy parks and playgrounds when they aren't overcrowded. 
  • make birthdays a holiday.
  • be around to see when the child takes a big step forward. 
  • learn rather than worry about tests when the children are young.
Home education isn't always easy. 
If your child is at home all day, you
  • don't get a break. 
  • are responsible for arranging the whole of their education. You might not teach everything  but someone has to research and arrange.
  • have to provide all their meals. This seems to involve a constant answering of the question What is for lunch?
  • have to fit other responsibilities around the children's education. I'm thinking of housework, paid employment and other caring roles. 
  • are financially responsible for your children's education. 
In my book, the positives far outweigh the negatives.

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  1. That's a lovely and refreshing list. I sometimes say 'homeschool' because people know what I mean, but I use the term homeschool and home educate interchangably. And I agree - the education is way beyond 'school'. The other day, I was worried about not doing 'enough' and my seven year old launched into a discussion, basically Romans 9, about how it was not unjust of God to harden Pharoah's heart - and then started tying Scripture with Scripture and made it pretty clear that the God he loves would never be unjust. (This is a child who finds it hard to sit, and often doesn't appear to be listening). That is just one example.

    1. Yes, I agree, that sometimes it helps for clarity to say "homeschool".

      What a great example. Those children who struggle to keep still often take in more than we expect-speaking from experience, here!

  2. Great list! Have often followed your blog over years even though we had no children then. I agree so many many benefits which outweigh the negatives. Did you find it difficult leaving a career behind? In my head, I think the answer for me would be no in light of the benefits but would love to know your answer. And would you have considered it at the start of your career or not? I.e. Was it easier to do having enjoyed the years of having a paid career as a doctor first and coming into home education later in life? Liz Sewell

    1. Liz, that is an interesting question. No, in many ways leaving medicine was easy. It was obvious that I needed to be at home and had plenty to keep me busy, both physically and mentally. The question about leaving at the start of my career is thought provoking and probably deserves a fuller answer than this. Personally, I think that medicine was very important to me, probably too important. God worked in my heart to realise my responsibility to my children and also we developed an increasing concern about the secularised nature of, even nominally Christian education plus a worry about a "one size fits all" education. By the time, I left it was really obvious to me what had to be done. Yes, in some ways it probably was easier having had the years in medicine but on the other hand, having developed specialist skills made leaving harder. I still miss the patients, taking histories, making diagnoses and making treatment plans with details that improve people's lives even if the don't cure the illness. I do miss the status and am sure that this shouldn't matter to me. At the bottom of my heart, I know that I made the right choice.

    2. Thank you Sarah, I appreciate you taking time to reply. Much to continue to pray about, I still have time thankfully.

  3. Yes, the 'What's for lunch?' question never goes away....

    Good list. For postives, I would add 'pool schooling' which makes up for so much!

    1. I'm being ignorant there but is pool schooling when mothers share their abilities and teach the subjects that come easiest to them?

  4. I agree with hewording & always prefer the term 'Home Education' but lapse into 'Homeschooling' as that's what people understand. And yes, home is nothing like school!