I home educate my three sons (8, 6 and 5) and one daughter (3)
I home educate because of so many reasons including:
And many other reasons!!
we get to be together as a family,
we can give the kids a better, more individual education best suited to their individual needs and with more 1:1 time than they would get in school,
we are able to choose what they learn and they can have a say in what they would like to learn,
other home-schoolers and their kids are lovely,
we can teach our kids the values and behaviour that we believe is right and they're not influenced by their peers for 30 hours a week,
4 is far too early to go to school - I want my children to be children as long as possible!
The best thing about home education is getting to be with the kids, getting to know them better and developing great relationships within the family.
My biggest challenge is time!! Particularly when I want to work with, and focus on, each child individually whilst juggling smaller kids, church responsibilities, housework, social activities etc.
My home education style is probably best described as “pick and mix”. We tend to work in the morning and play in the afternoon but we’re very flexible.
My family have a mix of reactions. Both sets of our parents were surprised but supportive. Our wider family have been more negative, partly as their kids/grandkids are in school and partly as quite a few are teachers and are defensive about the school system.
My friends have been accepting but I think feel a bit defensive because their kids are in school. I rarely get feedback from church although friends at church without kids often comment on how lovely our kids are. We also see that our kids have great relationships with the students and other adults at church - more than the other church kids who go to school, I would say. I think our church leadership feels that perhaps we're creating too much of a Christian bubble and are missing out on the opportunity to evangelise that school presents!
I am prepared to home educate until A-level.
My advice to a new home educator is be chilled out! Don't take on board any pressure to 'keep up' with peers who are at school (or being home-schooled!). Ease into it gently, take a couple of years to decide which curriculums/material best suit you, as teacher, and your kids. Remember that in lots of other countries most kids don't start until 6 or 7. Make building a social network a priority.