I love home education.
I think it’s wonderful. I think that it is absolutely the best way for most young children. Formal education in this country starts way too soon. We expect our tiny four year olds to learn phonics, to have an interest in reading and writing and to have the ability to concentrate when actually, most of them would rather be picking their noses and kicking the shit out of each other.
I home educated my first child until he was nine years old when he decided to go to school for year 4. Obviously, there is a much longer story behind that including a divorce (me, not him) and a cross country move, and I am so glad that I did.
Saying that, I have just kicked my four year old out of the nest and packed her off to reception where she will be expected to learn phonics, have an interest in reading and writing (she doesn’t) and to have the ability to concentrate (she can’t) when actually, she would rather be picking her nose and kicking the shit out of other children.
Because I am NOT home educating again.
And here are my five reasons why.
1) Okay, so first off, the ‘home’ in home education is misleading.
When you home educate you are out of the house an awful lot. Classes with other home educating families, trips, travelling, extra curricular activities (like what the normal kids who go to school do), sports and meeting up with friends all take up a lot of time so you are rarely in the house. It’s actually fucking exhausting.
I know right? And you thought all home educated children were backwards creatures like the ones from The Hills Have Eyes who never saw the light of day and had never seen another living soul!
2) People think you are weird.
When people found out my son was home educated it was like telling them that he was born with three heads. They would automatically form the following conclusions:
He must be thick
I must be thick
We must be religious nuts
We must be breaking the law
I can tell you now that none of the above are true, but it didn’t stop people cocking their heads to the side and talking to my son v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.
Then they would start to ask questions. Always the same questions:
Who teaches him? You aren’t a teacher
Who checks up on what you are teaching him?
Is it legal?
Does he see any other children?
“How would he ever fit in?” They lamented, wringing their hands with worry, “How will he deal with social situations later in life when he doesn’t go to school? Oh, the poor, poor child!”
3) You are forced to become a rude cunt
At first, I would answer the questions patiently. As the years went by and I was asked “Why isn’t he at school?” every time we set foot outside the house in term time, I am afraid that I started to become a rude, obnoxious, cunt.
There are only so many times that you can be interrogated by strangers before you snap and people seem to love to give home schooling families a hard time, because when you do something outside of the ‘norm’ it makes people feel very uncomfortable. And when people are uncomfortable, they have to confront you about it – because people are arse holes.
4)You become a projection of other peoples failings
People also tend to think that you are somehow attacking them by living your life slightly differently. When they bring up the subject of home education, they always feel that they have to wax lyrical about how wonderful their children’s school is and how much their children love going to school.
Like you could give a fuck about anyone else kids!
They would also suddenly be very interested in what my child could and couldn’t do and would often force him to be a performing monkey by asking him to read them random things or setting him random math’s questions.
It was immensely tiring and very unfair on my child.
5) I won’t be home educating my daughter because it’s hard work
I can’t be bothered with the hard work (and it is hard work), the traipsing round places on trips, the ferrying about to clubs and activities and the parties of the billion other home schooled children she would be friends with.
I also can’t go through the questioning again. Imagine if you had something about you that people felt they could pick apart, question and ridicule you for? It’s draining at best, depressing at worst.
The most frustrating thing they ask is “are there any checks for home schooled children? Who checks that they are okay and not being abused?”
I always ask back, “how would you like it if someone came and checked every aspect of your child’s home life?” which is ALWAYS followed with “I would welcome it, I have nothing to hide!”
Nah, you wouldn’t.
Anyone who says they wouldn’t mind weekly checks on their children’s welfare and intrusions into their family life is a liar.
So no, I won’t be home educating my second child.
photo credit: talkingplant Future bookworm via photopin (license)
Cookie Kibbles is nothing short of an enigma. The only writer to have been slogging away for 20 years without getting that elusive book deal or magazine column. The only comic to have been pounding the stages of dodgy backstreet pubs spouting (frankly hilarious) musings on life without coming to the attention of Channel 4. The only actress never to have appeared in Casualty. Is she a genius or is she deluded? You decide.
“Should have got a job in Asda” – Cookie’s Dad
“An absolute C*unt” – Most other bloggers
“She is basically the anti-christ” – Insatamums