Blog Archive

Monday, 29 September 2014

Thoughts on home education from my 22 year old son

You may wonder what happens to children once they finish home education.  My two eldest went on to Sixth form college, university then employment.  I still have four children at home, aged 10-16 years old and we work towards IGCSEs.  At 16, we consider the options available according to each child's interests and needs.
I asked my 22 year old son if he would shoot from the hip and write a post on home education.  Whatever take he wanted would be fine - I would publish it unedited.  He has trained as an actor but he is currently working in a call centre in London and going for auditions in between times.
I hope I may be able to tease more posts out of him in the coming months but here is the first...

So I went to school until I was 10 years old.  When I was a kid, I certainly seemed to have a bit of an Alpha-Male complex!  For some reason, from the age of 4 until 9, I had it in my head that I was just amazing when I was with my classmates.  However,  my family moved house to a different town so I had to start fresh in a new school.  I went into that school with the same complex, and to be honest I kind of got what I deserved.  I wasn’t popular at all in the new school and I definitely became quite unhappy.  My big sister, for other reasons, wasn’t fitting in at her new school either. 
I think after several weeks of me coming home complaining about school eventually pushed my Mum to start looking at alternatives for me.  We looked at other schools in the area, slightly smaller ones where I may fit in a little more and be a bit happier.  However, nothing seemed to really fit. 
Then my mum and step-dad started looking into home-ed.  I had no idea what it meant, other than the fact I would never have to go to school again!  Seriously, ask any 10 year old boy if he never wants to go to school again, and probably 8 times out of 10, they will shout “hell yeah!”  
My home-ed experience certainly made me who I am today.  I was very lucky to have essentially four parents, my step-parents included, who are all very intelligent, in different fields!  My Dad is an accountant, so he is fantastic with numbers, my Mum’s versatility and ability to turn her hand to anything is invaluable, my step-dad has a huge creative flair and a brilliant ability with drama and creative writing (as well as having a biology degree), and my step-mum has a fantastic business mind.  So in this respect, I was incredibly lucky, even though now I am 22 I can still just about retain a little of all the stuff we covered in those years!  
Something else that benefitted me hugely in the 6 years I was home-taught, is the fact that we used to go travelling all around Europe in a motorhome.  I must admit, after the first couple of tours around France and Spain, the novelty did begin to wear off.  When I hit the age of 14, I began yearning to be able to have the opportunity to socialise with people my own age.  Because of all the travelling, it limited my chances to become more involved in the social clubs that I wanted to be a part of more, the football teams and the drama clubs.  Both of these were huge passions of mine, and I became ever more frustrated with our frequent excursions out of the country.  

However, looking back at that period of my life, I don’t regret any of it.  At the time I was going through a tough age and I guess my natural instinct to was rebel against my parents.  Truth is, travelling in a motorhome, meeting so many different people along the way really did broaden my mind.  Forgive me if this does sound a little pretentious, but I now have the ability to see a wider picture and I put that down hugely to being so close to my family whilst experiencing so many adventures on our travels.  Yes, because I barely saw people my own age when growing up, it did perhaps hinder my social skills (especially with women!) when I began college, however I think I have finally learnt now…although I am still a little useless with women ha.

In summary, home education is not just about what grades you want your child to get.  Grades come with natural intelligence I believe.  If you are thinking about teaching your children at home, just to get them better grades and GCSEs, then I firmly believe you are doing it for the wrong reasons.  However if you want to do it to broaden your child’s horizons as a person, and you feel like you can offer them the outlets and those experiences that they wouldn’t get if they were at school, you should certainly, certainly consider it.