Monday, 28 July 2014

Will he ever go to school?

I have been asked the question 'will he ever go to school?' several times recently so I have been thinking about it. Actually once the question was 'will he go to a normal school?' - is there such a thing!? Maybe all parents of four year olds should be asked 'will you send them to school?' as I doubt many have actually given much thought as to whether it is the right thing to do, or perhaps they don't know about an alternative. 

I slightly resent the implication in the question that school is a 'better' path - I don't disagree that it may be better for some children but our original reasons (arrived at after many, many hours of reading and talking) for deciding to home educate still hold strong and I can only see positives in them for my children and family:

- By following his own interests, Harry can learn about anything. He doesn't have to wait until KS2 science is covered at school (we have done most of this already as he loves science) or learn in detail about dinosaurs (which he has no interest in at all). 

- We can get lots of outdoor time, fresh air and exercise, which my children really need. If they are tired or under the weather they can spend their time doing restful but still productive activities like listening to audio books.

- We can fit family into our life. We don't live near any of our family so it's very important that we can visit and this can't always happen at the weekend. It also means we, as a family of four, spend most of our time together and share our experiences, which I think at age 6 and 3 is a positive thing.

There are undoubtedly things that children miss out on by not going to school (I am not claiming we inhabit some kind of home education utopia), just as there are things that schooled children miss out on while at school. The school play and sports day are two that spring to mind but on balance I believe that home education can offer broader, better experiences (again for my children). We can visit the beach on what might be the only sunny day in a fortnight, or read a long book in a few days because they love it so much. And the chance to take part in activities similar to school is there, by way of extra-curricular activities, if they are attractive to the children. Harry has performed in front of many people at his gymnastics club and at music concerts and made memories for life at Beavers already by flying fire balloons. 

My ultimate answer is that I don't know if either of my children will go to school. I would certainly look into it with them if they asked to go but I can't see that happening at the moment. School is not an issue for them; it has never been part of their lives so it is not the main point of reference for them as it is for schooled children (and the parents asking the question!). Of course Harry knows that other children do go to school and we have spent time with schooled friends these summer holidays and been camping together too. It is perfectly normal in his world that they go to school and he doesn't, as it should be in my opinion; home education is a normal educational choice. 

In any case, I will not be doing much more thinking about this question right now as I am sure that Harry and Peter will do their best and achieve their potential whether they choose to go to school one day, or not.


  1. Your sports day comment made me laugh. We are home educators but had the opportunity to attend four different home education sports days. We only went to one, in the end!

  2. That's brilliant! Maybe I should organise one next year and cross that off my list. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Yes. Sports days around here too! I've been asked the same thing numerous times and I quite often feel like asking 'will they ever be home-educated?'
    Great post. Thank you for sharing #homeedlinkup

  4. I feel quite sad that when my eldest daughter started school five years ago, I didn't know that home schooling was an option. I just assumed that all children went to school and that was what everyone did. Now I know that there is a different option I can't wait to get started and am hoping it won't be too long before I can join you all.