Making the decision to home school your child isn’t an easy one. There are many things to consider as parents and at Fresh Start, it’s a question we hear a lot and it’s important that you get as much information as you can about what’s involved in home schooling.
You might be a parent who isn’t comfortable with the curriculum that is being delivered to your child or maybe your child is refusing to go to school or is facing exclusion. If you are feeling frustrated as a parent for these – and other – reasons and you can’t see any option but to home school, what should you do? Should you take your child out of school and teach them
For some, Elective Home Education is the right decision and suits the family dynamics. For others, the reality of the challenges of home-schooling hits hard after the honeymoon period is over. More often than not, many feel they have no choice and in rare circumstances, there are those who feel
the school have encouraged/recommended this decision (also known as off-rolling or illegal exclusion – but that’s another topic!)
At Fresh Start, we understand what a difficult decision this is. To help you think about it a bit further, here’s our 5 top tips if you’re considering home schooling:
- Have you got the time?
In order to provide your child with a varied and interesting range of learning experiences, you will need to invest a significant amount of time into researching and planning your subjects and topics for lessons. Then time must be allocated to delivering the lesson and monitoring the work that is taking place. Following sessions, you may need to read through and check work that your child has completed, ready to plan for the next session! (No wonder teachers eat, breathe and sleep work!)
- Can you source resources?
Okay, so you could just nip down to your local WHSmiths and purchase all the latest education workbooks, and sure, they’re great resources to use at the right time…but not all the time. In order for children to learn and develop, their minds need to be stimulated with
a variety of learning styles. Some hands-on activities and ones that involve movement. Sourcing everything that might be needed may not only be time consuming but could also prove expensive. There is also the option to connect with local groups who might be sharing resources and ideas – worth looking into before committing. You should also consider whether you want to source private tutoring for some of the subjects you feel less able to deliver, Fresh Start Direct does just that for parents, and it compliments the ways parents
choose to deliver education to their children.
- Do you have a support network?
Home schooling can be a lonely experience, not just for your child, but also for you. There’s a danger that you might find yourself isolated and alone, your days consumed with planning, teaching and checking – all that on top of the already long to-do lists that parents have!
Finding out if there are local home-ed groups nearby that meet up for activities, can provide a very welcome change for both you and your child. It’s good to have some space…for everyone! Do you have family and friends nearby who will help out if needed or to give you a break? Is your child attending any groups with other young people their age i.e. Guides/Scouts/Swimming?
- Have you got the space?
It’s good and healthy for children to know the spaces that are designated for them to be in “education” mode, as opposed to “home and relaxing mode”. If these spaces are not defined, along with good routines and boundaries, it can be difficult to make good progress.
It’s healthy for children to be able to differentiate between school time and home time.
Otherwise there is a risk that it all blurs into one, with both yourself and your child feeling like you’re always at school. This also helps for the family atmosphere. If your child has a difficult day of learning, once that time is over, they can feel safe that school is over for the day and they can revert to home life without carrying over the difficult feelings. This is also healthy for you as a parent to be able to do, and it’s a great benefit for family life.
- Do you need additional services to help with home schooling?
If your child has some additional needs, it can be much harder to access support if you are home-schooling. If they have an Education Health & Care Plan, the Local Authority no longer has a legal duty to secure any special educational provision as it is seen that the parents are making their own suitable arrangements. Your GP will be able to make referrals to other services such as CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services). If there are emotional and mental health challenges being faced, you might want to consider an online intervention, such as Fresh Start Counselling. This service provides counselling via a secure online platform, so you don’t have to leave the home to attend the appointment.
If you would like to talk to Fresh Start Direct about how we can help as part of your home schooling plan, we offer the first 20 minute session free of charge so you can find out what support we offer – tailored to your child