Imagine if everything you had ever been told was wrong. We are told ‘facts’ and stories all our lives – but how can we know what we are being told is right?
When my daughter first started trying to convince me to home-school her, I countered her arguments ‘for’ with arguments ‘against’ that I had learned from other people: “You need to go to school to socialise with children your age;” “You are better off getting help from a teacher face-to-face;” “You need your peers at school to help you problem-solve”.
The problem was that each response I gave always came with a niggling doubt, mainly because I knew that my years spent studying at home with the Open University were far better and more rewarding than the years I spent studying for my degree with a bricks and mortar ‘traditional’ university. Added to that were my twelve years as a school governor (six as Chair) at a large primary school, where I felt the pushing for targets, associated paperwork and policies, all overshadowed the well-being of the children. I was also concerned that creativity and physical education were being pushed out by government targets and always had that same niggling doubt in my mind that ‘maybe this isn’t the best way’.
Further thought brought me to the realisation that for each ‘against’ I thought of, my brain seemed to automatically register a solution. I knew that socialisation wouldn’t be a problem; I have friends who home-educate and meet up regularly with other home-educating families. There are also numerous opportunities for voluntary work and I knew that if my daughter found some voluntary work in an area that interested her, she would be far more likely to meet like-minded friends with shared interests. The local riding stables are top of the list at the moment. Is she self-disciplined enough? Having watched her concentrate on her work, planning her days, and having her ask me relevant questions, I know the answer is yes. So long as the subject interests her, she will have no trouble completing the work. And that’s the beauty of home schooling – the children can choose the subjects that interest them.
My daughter has had an interest in video editing and IT for a long time – years – and I feel that they are something that she could make a successful career out of. Home-schooling, combined with some ‘unschooling’ (while she works on her video editing and IT) seemed like the ideal combination to give her a strong start in her working adult life.
And so our journey into home schooling has begun. It’s early days yet but the support so far from Oxford Home Learning has been impressive and I can honestly say that, as yet, I haven’t had any regrets in taking this path.
Jane originally trained as a counsellor way back in the 1990s. At the time she had a horticultural business and experimented with horticultural therapy which she found to be very effective. In 1997 She started nurse training and obtained her Bachelor of Nursing degree in the year 2000. She then worked for several years in the NHS and in private practice. She was a columnist and speaker for the Nursing Standard journal for 17 years and is currently completing training as a clinical hypnotherapist. She now prefers a more holistic and natural approach to life and health and specialises in offering workshops in wild art ecotherapy focusing on improving energy, mindfulness and self-compassion. She was a school governor for twelve years (six as chair of governors) at a large primary school and is particularly interested in creativity and mindfulness in education.