Friday 25 March 2022

The Negatives Of Home Educating

 Admittingly, when I pulled my son out of school to home educate him, I didn't do any planning at all. I pulled my son out of his secondary education setting because he was let down by the school, and was put at risk and in danger of harm. As a mother, I knew that the incident that happened that day was enough, I am my son's guide and protector, and I made the best decision for my child that day.

Whilst home education has been beneficial in a number of ways - the most important one being the change to my son's mental health, there are unfortunately lots of negatives to home education, some of which I will outline below. Before moving on with this post, it's important to know that home education is different from home schooling.

A childs arm rest on a table with paper, colouring pens, paints, crayons and rocks.

Socialising is one of the biggest negatives I have with home education. When children are in school, regardless of whether they actually have friends or not, they still socialise in one form or another. With home-educated children, socialising isn't as simple as being dropped off at a gate every day, socialising with a home-educated child is excessive planning, lots of information searching, and sadly some disappointments too.

Whilst I appreciate that this is not the case for every single home-educated family, it's certainly something we have struggled with. We live in Reading (Berkshire), and whilst we have lots of fellow home educating families, what we do lack is age-appropriate groups/sessions. Sadly the pandemic halted all the HE social groups my son attended, and virtual groups are just not the same.

Whilst every child in the UK is entitled to free education, this doesn't apply to exams. So whilst your child is entitled to free education, it doesn't mean they get exams free, that's from the smallest of exams to the biggest. This is something I was aware of before pulling my son out of school as I was home educated myself, but unfortunately, many parents aren't aware of this until their child reaches GCSE exam age. Fortunately, there are ways around this - for example, some areas allow children to attend college from the age of 14, taking exams at college instead of in school placement. With home educators, we have to pay for our children to take exams, and with GCSEs costing a few hundred pounds each, it's not always a possible solution for home-educated families.

No Financial Help:
Exams aren't the only thing you get no financial help with. Every single thing that I buy comes out of my own pocket. I do not get any financial help for home educating my son whatsoever, so everything he needs is provided by me. I do not even get as much as a pen, pencil or sheet of paper. When lockdowns hit and families were given supermarket vouchers - I along with all the other home-educated families got NOTHING. We don't get any help with the extra energy we use, the water we use, the clothing/footwear etc - we get NO help whatsoever.

Educational Visits/Sports Day/Plays:
Whilst Educational Visits aren't marked off the cards entirely whilst you're home educating, they do play entirely different roles unless you can get a good group of you together. When attending events and attractions as a home-educated family, we're usually just given a worksheet or two if that, whilst school attending children get a guided tour and lots more information.

As for sports days, again unless you have a great home education network with children of similar ages to your own child/children, then unfortunately your child is going to be in competition with themselves only. You can read my post here on how we do sports day for home educated children.

Whilst some children will be over the moon with this news - Christmas plays/Harvest Festivals etc are all non-existent in the world of home educating, at least it has been for us! We're fortunate that Spud has other home-educated family members, but none of them are particularly interested in drama!

Lack Of Support For SEN Children:
Before I properly start this paragraph, I know SEN children have a lack of support in school settings too - the whole system is whack I admit! However, with home-educated children, we don't have 'extra eyes' to help, or a dedicated SENCO team, uplines we can approach for help/advice/information, a dedicated team from the local authority with Occupational Therapists, Educational Psychologists, and more. Home educating a child without additional needs is hard enough, and home educating a child with additional needs is even harder.

Thankfully, there are way more positives to home education than negatives. I wasn't in a situation to prepare myself as such, because of the circumstances surrounding my son being home-educated, but what I will say if you're considering home educating is: really do your groundwork before making your final decision. Home education can be the best beneficial thing you can do, but make sure you're armed with information and your rights before making your final decision.

Until next time,
Jada x


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