We currently homeschool our son and I have to say it suits us perfectly. Homeschooling wasn’t something we planned to do, I was always concerned we weren’t clever enough to teach him (well apart from maybe the real basics) but school just wasn’t for him. We tried it, we really did but there is nothing worse than seeing your once happy and lively four year old turn into a completely different miserable exhausted little boy. He was very young in the year which didn’t help.
I still don’t understand why they expect 4 year olds to be at school full time and be sent home with at least an hours homework, they are still so young. We took him out after about 3 months and it has been the best decision we have made, he’s happy again and that’s all that really matters. From a slightly selfish point of view life is so much easier without school, yes I know it means you have your kids with you all the time but I love that. Honestly I believe they argue less because they are used to being with each other all the time and not just in the holidays.
As you can probably tell, I really loathe routine so the school run is something I prefer to avoid! I love the freedom we have now, if we both happen to be off work we can just go out as a family with the added bonus of avoiding the crowds while everyone else is in school. I suppose I should be completely honest and admit I LOVE never getting up early or having to worry about getting uniform ready!
The main question that I get asked repeatedly is – what about socialisation? I think people assume that we just sit at home all day on our own because most children are at school. When really we have so many activities planned every week, we have regular homeschooling groups that we go to weekly so M has now got a good group of friends and we join lots of planned trips just like you would in school. Of course we also just meet up with other homeschooling families and have fun! There are endless opportunities for kids now and school doesn’t need to be part of that. I will point out that I’m not against school, it suits some families and we haven’t ruled out our kids going at some point somewhere in the future but at the moment we’re very happy.
No decision is permanent, I think you just have to do what you think is right at the time. You know your child better than anyone. Taking your child out of school can feel like a huge decision, school is considered the norm, it’s considered the acceptable way to educate your child. The big difference now is there are thousands of parents deciding to homeschool and it is slowly becoming more “normal”. There is just so much support available now, Facebook has been a massive help for me. You’ll find local groups with all the activities in your area and larger support groups that can answer almost any question on homeschooling in minutes. Most groups welcome new members and are always happy to help in any way they can.
Our children are still at the learning to read and write stage so you may find these resources useful if you have a child of similar age. However, most of these have options for older kids.
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Reading eggs and math seeds – great for learning to read and starting out with maths. My son loves this app and is able to use it without any help. My son really loves the games too which helps to keep his interest in using. Find out more about reading eggs here.
Doodlemaths – We have only recently started using this and it’s great. It asks you questions at the beginning to assess what stage your child is at and adapts the programme as necessary. I like this feature as it doesn’t just go by age and is useful if there is an area your child is struggling with. We are currently using the free version, this is great but there is a limit to how much you can do daily so I’m considering upgrading our account. More info here.
Edplace – Again we’ve only just signed up to this. It is based on worksheets and you assign worksheets to your child’s account. It covers maths, English and science and you can add rewards to encourage your child to complete the tasks. It isn’t as fun as the other apps but it does cover a huge range plus it follows the national curriculum which is useful if you’re keen to have a guide of what they would be doing at school.Click here for more info.
The list is endless, fortunately most online resources offer a free trial so your child can give it a go before you commit to anything. I have also managed to get a discount with some online apps by joining a group subscription. Sometimes this option can have certain restrictions but often saves a lot of money. I’m happy to pass the details on to anyone interested.
As we begin to travel more I’m looking forward to them experiencing new things. I can’t wait for them to learn about new places by actually experiencing them and not just through a textbook.