Parenting

Have you ever considered home schooling your children?

Making the choice to educate your children 'otherwise' than in school is called elective home education. I'm a full time working dad in London and our family have been home educating for many years. We made a positive choice to make the most of London. We felt we could offer our children an exciting and alternative education making the most of the opportunities here.

In term times, if you dodge the school trips, the museums and playgrounds are pleasantly calm. While most children are in the classroom, we have the choice of interesting places to go to. Home educators rarely spend a day at home. If we want to study an area of science, history or art, we can get firsthand experience in front of the actual artefact of interest. Stephenson's Rocket here we come!

Of course as I am working, the bulk of the educating is taken on by my wife. She happens to be a teacher who taught full time for around ten years. However, she is adamant that anyone can do it. School teaching is about managing large groups of children and ensuring that each child has suitably targeted work. With your own children, you know them so well, you can be sensitive to their needs and interests and tailor the education to each individual child.

It is great as a working dad to come home and find my children engaged in activities they enjoy. There is no real start and end to a 'school' day. If they want to draw, paint, code, play board games or write stories, no bell stops them. My weekends and holidays are built around adding something extra and being part of lively family life. My dad things include swimming and explaining historical and environmental concepts around the built environment.

Socialising and exams are the two things people suggest may be problems. That's not our experience. We have several families within walking distance who also home educate, as well as more groups than there are days in the week. Groups include meet ups at parks, sports centres, community halls for art, drama, project work and socialising. We even have our own sports days. People connect through Facebook or yahoo groups.

Many private exam centres accept candidates. Using the site, www.home-education-exams.org.uk you can find out how to organise this. However, the cost is completely the responsibility of the family. There is no help from government. Generally you need to find exams with no coursework component.

Exams can be expensive but the actual education and quality of family life is beyond value. It is not for everyone. It is a full time commitment and one parent needs to be at home unless you find a way of sharing, or buying in help. 
For further information look at edyourself.org This website has lots of information, facts and figures. There are many blogs. One of the most informative is rossmountney.wordpress.com From these you could find links to national and local groups.
Colin
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