Home Education - Challenges

January 17

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Salad Days: Home Ed Challenges. 


In the last three issues of Salad Days I have shared with you the great opportunity and freedom that home education offers families in being able to pursue a personalised education with their children. You can find those articles on www.saladdaysmag.com if you missed them and want to find out more about what it could mean for your family. 


It would be somewhat disingenuous of me though to share the benefits of home education without also sharing some of the challenges that can come along. Different families find different things difficult at different times, so I asked local home educating parents about their experiences, and can share with you five of the things that came up. 


1) Self-Care. 

It isn’t always easy to find time for self-care when you are a home educating parent. A lot of time and energy goes into being available to and supporting your children, especially when they are really young. Home ed isn’t something that usually exists within a 9am-3pm framework either, it really is a way of life, and being kind to yourselves is an essential part of that. Finding time to recharge is so important, and can require thought and planning to make happen.


2) Discovering what works best for your family.

As we are most familiar with school based ways of learning, getting to grips with how learning happens outside of the classroom, and for individual children who can be free to learn in their own way and at their own pace, can be a challenging process and mindset shift. At the start there might be a period of trial and error while you figure out what works best for your family. Things are also always changing as you and your children grow and evolve, and needs and interests develop, so working out what works best is an ongoing process. 


3) Meeting the needs of children at different ages and stages.

One of the benefits of home education is the opportunity to grow and learn alongside people of a range of different ages. However, juggling that within your own family on a day to day basis can be challenging when your children’s needs and developmental stages differ and can be in conflict with each other. Figuring out how to make that work is likely to require open communication, negotiation and compromise in order to achieve something that feels good for everyone.


4) FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

There is a lot going on for home educating families, both locally and further afield, and with so many great opportunities up for grabs it can be easy to feel as though there is something somewhere that you are missing out on. In reality, hectic weeks full of excursions, events and activities don’t necessarily equal a balanced and happy home ed life, so families need to prioritise and make choices about what they are going to do now, and what can wait for another time. With so much on offer, and the opportunity for parents to organise things themselves to share with other home educating families, there really is plenty of time and no need to worry. A day at home really can be a great thing.


5) Money

A parent needs to be available to their child(ren) in order to support home education, and the upshot of that is that a salary, or at least part of a salary, is sacrificed. Everyone’s circumstances differ in regards to this, and families in a really broad range of situations figure out ways to make it work. However there is no avoiding it - there is a financial impact when a parent is engaged in their children’s education rather than paid work. That being said, home educating parents can and do find various ways to access paid work, and the cost of home ed itself can be as little or as much as a family wants it to be.


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