Home education is when a child is educated in their own home.
While some portion of the learning may be offered by 3rd parties (especially in the later years) like tutors and tutor centres or other varieties of lessons, including co-ops, it is generally accepted and quantified in terms of the law, that home education is that which the parent (normally) facilitates for their child, in their own home.
Definition is everything
If you are dropping your child off at a centre where they spend their days getting instruction from other people, it does not fall within the legal or traditional definition of home education. This is not to say that these options are not as prolific as homeschooling, in fact, these might just make up the vast majority of non-mainstream schooling options in the country at the moment. Many parents cannot abide leaving their children at a school, and also cannot stop working, so they find a middle of the road solution in small scale “homely” school setups known as cottage schools. Some are fantastic, but many are fly by night, money-making rackets that end up burning holes in your wallet and harming your children on any level from educational to emotional.
The most common question seasoned homeschooling moms get from those who are starting out is “where do I start?” This is not an easy question to answer because it is just as loaded as asking your beloved to explain why they love you!
To start with, if you have chosen to homeschool since before you send your children to a school, the process becomes much easier, is streamlined, avoids the many pitfalls and deviences that cause stress and anxiety for the family, and it tends to have a wonderful natural flow for everyone. This is the ideal situation for homeschooling, and in any utopia, parents would know what they want for their children right from the start. The reality is that most people chase a career and only realise some years into their children’s education that they want something else, something more bespoke in terms of education for their offspring
In a nutshell, the parent normally stops what they are doing in almost all aspects of their life, to focus on the transition and acclimatisation of the child leaving a school environment to come home and home school. It’s a sacrifice on some levels – mainly financial – but we do it gladly because the motivation runs deep! It’s not an easy process for a parent or child because the change can mean a loss of parts of your life that you enjoyed, even though you know you are heading towards something better. It is important to take the time to “mourn” that which is lost for the sake of that which you will gain.
A Familial Hurdle
One very common, almost GIVEN complication is that family all around you suddenly find reasons to interfere with your parenting choices, your child’s scholastic assessment, your relationship with your children, their friendships outside of the family environment, your shopping lists and your travel plans – because “homeschooling”. This is a particularly difficult aspect to navigate because you love your family, but you need to live your own life and raise your own children without incurring debt to those who feel owed an explanation. For some this is temporary, but by most accounts, this continues for years. It is best to make peace with the fact that busybodies will never change, and that you have to forge on regardless!
If you are bringing your children home from a school environment, you absolutely need to have a period of adjustment in order for the child to change context on an emotional and cognitive level, and for you to find out what would be in the best interest of your children, your home life, your budget and your specific circumstance. This period of time is known as “deschooling” and has a tremendous advantage on many levels. I will write more in detail about this on its own, with commentary from experienced and educated individuals who are able to speak to the psychology of the process. Suffice it to say that it’s necessary, and the generally accepted rule as given by copious numbers of parents who have had to do this for at least the last 3 decades, advise around 1 month of deschooling per year your child has spent in a schooling environment (this includes playschool for little children up to the age of around 8 )
So now what?
You brought your child home, you have streamlined the financial implications and you have planned your time carefully.
You have set up a nice space to “learn” and planned the next 12 months of meals and a laundry schedule, including possible extra-curricular activities and about a years worth of playdates.
Where does one ACTUALLY START!?