Concerns holding people back from home schooling.
Here are a few of the most common fears and questions I’m seeing right now, along with a few of my thoughts:
Can I teach my child properly?
Short answer -hell yes!
Long answer - who taught them to toilet themselves, wash their hands, clothe themselves, be polite, recognize colours, birds, trees? I am sure that you taught your child so many things and you will go on teaching them.
Just because a child reaches a certain age doesn't mean you do not have knowledge, skills or information to keep teaching them.
Ask yourself this. Why would you put your child into a education system that left you feeling like you cannot teach your own child? or that you do not know enough to teach that child? Or that you didn't learn enough to share with your child?
You certainly do not need a 4 year teaching degree to teach your own child, you are not managing a group of 25 kids all the same age, that's a whole other skill set, you do not need a degree to have children and teach them.
Ever heard of outsourcing? A lot of home educating families do this. They enrol their child in online courses, attend music lessons, get a tutor for certain subject. Others love learning along side their child. If you can read and communicate then you are more than able to facilitate your child's ongoing education.
Will my child fall behind?
Behind what? I mean, is your child healthy, curious? Then why judge them up against others. If your child is happy and healthy they will learn what they need when they need it if you are available to steer them towards the information.
I understand, I do, you probably went to school and was tested and marked against others and it defined where you are now right? Well I hope it doesn't actually define you now as an adult, because you are more than a number, more than a test score. You are unique, with skills and knowledge others do not have. So is your child.
The term ‘falling behind’ is tricky because it assumes that all children learn and progress at the exact same pace at the exact same time. This is so far from accurate. It enrages me. How many mental health issues are being diagnosed because kids are being forced into round holes when they are diamonds?
Yes, institutional learning has to have levels and scores and benchmarks, its like a factory so it needs to move as many kids through it as they can with as much success as it can; but many fall through the cracks. So do not worry about your child not learning exactly the same things as the next door neighbours kid, your child is their own person with their own journey to travel. And if they need to be at a certain level to achieve a certain goal, if they love learning and haven't been forced then they will reach that goal - when THEY need it.
My partner doesn't really agree.
This can be a tricky 1.
You really do need support to home school. So my tips are to listen to your partner. Write down their concerns, their worries and their questions.
I suggest you then do your research and answer these questions with as much knowledge and data as you can, which is why it is a good reason to write it all down.
Once you are confident and know as much as you do about the legal option to home educate then sit with you partner and address all the concerns.
If your partner doesn't even want to consider the option to home school. Then you need to take home schooling of the table and work on open and trusting communication between you both.
If you are serious about home schooling then address why your partner will not discuss it at all. Remember you are in partnership and you both need to be heard and to listen to the other.
If it is a blanket, "no way, we are not (insert generalization here)." or "Its not happening, school is the best way to get an educations, end of discussion." This is when you need to chat about being heard and being in partnership.
You both want what is best for the child.
You both have fears.
You both have feelings.
So if you can learn to communicate without the emotion and be fair to each other then you can bring in homeschooling as a discussion.
Remind them that school will always be there and that you can send the child to school anytime but your child is only young once and they deserve the best care and support you can give. Trial a year at home, it usually helps. Reach out if you need support.
Book time with your partner away from the children and have a grown up conversation.
Time management and meeting targeted outcomes for a high-school aged child.
Here you need to ask yourself:
Whose outcomes are they? The child's? The education system? Or your own?
Once you establish this then time management becomes easier.
Time management is about what you need to achieve and by when, therefore you can manage how to achieve this outcome.
But remember if your child isn't interested in what you want them to do then it will be a battle and no amount of time management will help. Remember this is the child's future and their life, and all parents want what is best, but truly what is best is what the child wants. Communication and trust is key here. If you are struggling then reach out for support.
If you child wants to go to university and they have an idea of what they want to study, help them research options. Actually even if they do not want to go to university, establish what they are interested in now. At this age (senior high school) the teen needs to be fully empowered by their choices, if they are in control of their future they will work towards it as best they can and learn through mistakes and successes as we all do.
So when researching options ensure your teen is with you and help guide them through. Contact universities to ascertain pathways (an ATAR score is 1 of up to 10 ways to get into uni, do not limit your child's options because High School was how you did it or the traditional school model is forced on you.)
So to answer this concern I would make sure you know what the targeted outcomes are and who sets them and then work towards a plan to manage time to achieve these outcomes.
Here are just a few answers to the concerns people have around starting to home school. I will be posting more soon.
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