This is what educating should look like…

We are incredibly fortunate that an amazing teacher left mainstream education to support home educated families at exactly the same time we pulled ours out of school. Eight years on our third child remains with her and our youngest attends her parent and child group.

Her lessons are inspiring, caring, empowering and every day they come back having genuinely achieved something they are proud of. The ‘classroom’ is set on a beautiful farm in rural Suffolk. The owners are fully connected with nature and so pleased to be sharing their space with children who will learn from respecting and caring for the land.

It’s made all of us involved look at our mainstream education even more than we already did.

The ladies running the sessions treat every child as unique in their own rights, encouraging them to express their own opinions, tap into their passions and be guided gently into behaving in a caring and courteous manner to all around them.

The rare ones who move on leave as confident, happy, knowledgable children with many talents under their belt.

There are many educational groups like this forming all over the world.

If there is any part of you that feels your child isn’t being listened to, being pushed into behaving or thinking a certain way that may not align with them or you then join your local home ed group on FB, find people who already home ed in your area and take your child for trial days to whatever activity is going on. Read books on home educating but even more simple than that – observe your child. They will tell you if school is right for them or not. If they seem unhappy going to school, come home feeling frustrated about something with a teacher, or are being told they are too ‘lively, active, hyper, naughty,’ and that they need to adjust their behaviour to fit in with the system then it’s worth seeing what else is out there.

That doesn’t mean you let your child run riot – giving unlimited screen time, letting them eat whatever they like and behave however they like to others. It’s ok to give your child boundaries, to teach them the difference between what is wrong and right, to teach them that if they hurt people there are consequences. Giving them a healthy, balanced diet is vital if we want our children to lead healthy, balanced lives.

Our own routine is to do something more structured three mornings a week – a bit of maths, english, history – then something more creative in the afternoon – art, photography, a walk in nature, swimming, visiting a local historical place.

Socialising your child is down to you so the argument that your child will miss socialising is really the responsibility of the parent. It takes a bit of effort, means you have to step out of your comfort zone at times but the rewards are huge. If it’s not working out school is always there but if you are under any doubts that school isn’t the right place for your child then home educating is worth a go.

I know I’ve learnt so much more since we made the decision. As our eldest now heads off to college, without any GCSEs, to follow her passion of dance, drama and singing we know we were right to pull her out at the age of eight to try home educating.

We didn’t know it would be forever. We assessed home educating every year and asked whether she’d like to try school. At times she asked to look around local schools but is now so pleased she hasn’t had the stress her friends have had of GCSEs. She followed her passion, had time to take up any after school dance class she could and both colleges she applied for offered her an unconditional place – meaning no GCSEs. She’s now got the very difficult decision of deciding which one to go for!

With home education you don’t know what’s around the corner. Life is an adventure for you and your child – nothing is set in stone. It’s challenging, can test your patience but in the long run you will probably love it as much as your child does.

Go to our website for more details on the Renaturing Children’s Sessions ours attend and to see what a new education system could really look like.

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