Is home education right for my family?
Parents nationwide will recall their experiences of having home schooling suddenly thrust upon them at the start of the pandemic. Whilst many families no doubt felt relieved when classroom teaching was able to resume, it seems that the number of parents electing to permanently educate their children at home is on the rise; statistics in England revealed a 34% jump in home schooling from the 2019-20 to 2020-21 academic year.
Reasons for choosing to home school vary; some parents opt for it because of school-related concerns, such as class sizes, an emphasis on targets, their child’s anxiety around attending school, or more recently ‘Covid anxiety’. Others may home educate because they favour a fluid or flexible learning approach, and some feel that conventional teaching in a mainstream school doesn’t suit their gifted child, or their child with special educational needs.
If you’re trying to decide whether home educating is the right option for you and your family, you’ll want to weigh up the pros and cons. Here are some benefits and considerations we’ve identified:
Benefits of home education
It’s personalised. This is often one of the most attractive reasons for opting out of traditional schooling. Whilst parents are responsible for ensuring education provided at home is efficient, full-time, and suitable, it doesn’t need to follow the national curriculum. Learning can therefore be fully tailored to the individual child: their pace, interests, and preferred learning style.
Children can take ownership of their learning. Some home-schooling families give their child autonomy, letting them take the lead on their own education with their parents’ support. Many parents advocate that this can help nurture their child’s natural curiosity and develop their independence and confidence.
It can strengthen family bonds. Whilst this is difficult to measure and will likely vary from one family to another, many home-schoolers report improved family relationships, due to increased time spent together, working towards a shared goal.
Considerations before home schooling
Socialising. Of course, schools offer a lot more than just an academic education. Children who attend school have opportunities to experience collaborative group-working; are exposed to a variety of personalities and views; and are able to form relationships with peers of their own age. You’ll need to consider how your home-educated child will receive these opportunities so that they can develop their social resilience and form friendships.
Access to higher education. This can be a concern for parents home-schooling in the latter stages of education. It can be a challenge to provide both the academic support required to achieve suitable A-level grades (especially when parents don’t have the subject background themselves), as well as the support required for the selection and application processes. It’s no surprise that many home-schooling families therefore turn to subject specific tutors and services like Kumon’s maths and English programmes.
Commitment. Time…costs…resources, it’s clear that home-schooling requires a huge amount of commitment. Research the type of curriculum and learning resources you’ll use, and the costs involved and whether it will allow your child to reach his or her potential now and in the future. If you expect your child to sit public examinations such as GCSEs, Highers, etc. you’ll need to pay for these yourself. Opting for home education means all financial responsibility falls to the parent so you’ll want to consider all the financial and resourcing implications before taking the leap.
So, if you come to the decision that home schooling is for you, what’s out there to help you? Many families turn to options such as home-schooling support groups, online or correspondence courses, and tutors. Here at Kumon, a number of home-schooling parents use our maths and English programmes as a means of providing structure and support to their child’s learning. The Kumon Method was originally created for the home study environment, and is therefore a popular choice amongst families pursuing home education.
Sreepriya, who started her six-year-old son, Devesh, on Kumon online classes whilst home schooling, says,
“I like that there is a proper structure of a little bit of study to do every day. At school, I know that they have to hurry the children up to get through the work. It is almost like they teach them something and then move on to something new too quickly. With Kumon, the Instructor explained that he's going to be repeating things until he has mastered them, before moving on.
"I'm looking to build good foundations for Devesh and to invite him to open his mind. I want him to feel very confident and gradually to learn for himself."
To find out more about Kumon, or to book a Free Assessment meeting for you and your child, you can search for and contact your local Instructor here.