Our Family's Experience of Home Schooling: A Case Study
The prospect of home schooling can seem daunting and alien to those considering it but, for some children and parents, it turns out to be just what the young student needs. Every family’s experience of home schooling is different but it can be helpful to gain an insider insight before making the important decision. We spoke to Wendy Pettitt, mother of ten year old Sally, to hear what she had to say about home schooling her daughter.
So, why did you choose to educate Sally at home?W. When Sally was eight, we moved from Bath to Hastings. Sally loved her school in Bath, was getting along well academically and had plenty of friends. She attended our local primary in Hastings for a year but never settled there. She missed her old teachers and experienced problems fitting in socially as a new student. Her school in Bath was a lot smaller than the one in Hastings and I think she found that quite daunting. We made the decision to home school Sally because we thought it was the best thing to do for her happiness and wellbeing.
What have you found to be the benefits of home schooling?W. Sally is very much a kinaesthetic learner; she learns by doing things. I’m able to direct lessons to her needs in a way that a school can’t. For example, we do a lot of crafts and try to learn through games, making and drama as often as possible. We go on lots of educational trips. We recently went to the Science Museum and Sally was able to explore for hours. When we lived in Bath, I was working 9 to 5 and would arrive home fairly late in the evening. Since Sally has been home schooled, we get a lot more family time which I think is really important for her emotional development.
Have you come across any difficulties?W. Sally meets lots of other children at local clubs but I sometimes worry that she doesn’t have as many strong friendships with children her age as she might do if she was still at school. In Bath, she attended a few after school clubs and really enjoyed them. I do think she misses that aspect of school. Before making the decision to home school Sally, my husband and I had a long discussion about our finances and made certain that we could afford for me to leave work. Teaching Sally is now my full time job! Money is a lot tighter these days but we manage and we’re happy. Sometimes I miss the independence of having a career but seeing Sally progress both academically and as a person is so rewarding.
What will happen in the future?W. At the moment, we are able to closely follow the curriculum and Sally receives a similar education to that she would experience at school. We’re not yet sure about what the future will hold but I am concerned that once she reaches twelve or thirteen, she will need more specialised teachers. My husband and I are considering sending her to the local secondary school so that she begins afresh when all the other children her age do. We’ll see how things go. At the moment, she’s in the right place for her and that’s all that matters.
Home schooling is not for everyone but it is the answer for some. As Wendy and Sally’s case shows, home schooling doesn’t have to be a permanent choice. Home schooling can be approached in all sorts of different ways. The key is to find the right dynamic for both the family and the student.