I have been the first point of contact for our home ed group for a lot of people and have seen the different ways things have gone for different families in different situations.
We have enquirers with pre-school age children (some younger than that, we’ve had a few enquiries from people before they even have children!)
We also have parents and grandparents who are thinking of taking their children out of school.
We have many ask about home ed when their child has started yr 1 as it tends to be less played based than reception class and is a shock for many children.
We also have quite a lot of 12,13, 14 yr olds who have stuck it out at Secondary school to start with, but have then become so miserable that parents want to find another option. (Usually having tried everything there is to offer from the school or schools they have been to.)
If you take a child out of school it will usually take them a good few months (anywhere from 3-12 months, sometimes longer) to de-school. It can be a tricky time where the parent/s and/or child may feel that they ‘should’ be doing certain things and ‘should’ have evidence that learning is taking place. This is sometimes not helped by family / friends or the local authority / school.
Having seen many people go through it, I have seen that it is often the families who relax into it, treating it initially like a holiday (though home ed really can feel like a holiday a lot of the time – and this is ok!), it is these more relaxed families who re-find their children’s joy of learning and find a happy way to home ed.
We have seen some amazing transformations in both children and their parents over the years. That’s when you really see the joy of home education and Self-led learning.
My advice would be to step away from anything school-like / formal while you and your child de-school and instead go out and about, craft, draw, play, talk, watch interesting things, read together, plant things, talk even more, cook, meet other home educators to play, ….Live
Don’t rush it.
Let your child (and you) realise that home education doesn’t have to mean recreating school at the kitchen table (though for some people this does work) – the point is it can be whatever you and your child want it to be, this can be a really scary thought, but also a really exciting thought.
A chance to develop a passion, a stress free, effective way of learning, a new way of life!
Circumstances can be easier for some families than others, some children will have come out of school because they have needs that the school hasn’t coped with, autism, aspergers, adhd, add and many other needs that individual children may have – some children may enjoy more structure, the great thing about home education is that you can accomodate individual needs much more effectively than a school can.
Some families have one or more children in school and one or more out. We now have one in and one out which works fine for us as they are both happy, but it can complicate logistics for some families.
Financially it may mean losing, or cutting down on an income, though it is possible to home ed pretty cheaply – there are lots of free / cheap trips / activities out there and in fact with our 12 year old at school now we’ve been surprised by the constant expenses of school, uniform, trips, charity days, ingredients for cookery, etc. Our home ed group regularly clothes my children – we all pass on clothes within the group and it is lovely to see clothes that your children have worn and loved passed on to younger friends. We also pass on and share resources, do not go out and buy loads…. ask around first, or you’ll waste money.
If you don’t have another child at school then one of the perks of home education is the ease of going on holiday in term time, which can often mean paying half or even a third of the price that it would be in school holidays… it also means that it isn’t crowded everywhere!!!! Bliss!
Another thing about choosing home education as an option is that it doesn’t have to be a forever decision..
You could try it for a year and then go back to school – we have had a few children do that successfully – they have treated it as a breather, got their confidence in themselves back and then started back at school (quite often at a different school and as the child’s choice)
Year 6 seems a good one to miss – you can still apply for Secondary, take yr 6 out, miss all the anxiety and waste of time of SATS and then start secondary school (if you haven’t decided to just carry on with home educating!)
Children are tested once at secondary school anyway, so not having SATS results is not that important and you can always do some old papers at home as a rough guide to give to the school, that’s what we did and it has been fine. (Confuses the occasional teacher but not much)
Over the years I have never met anyone who has regretted trying home education. Many I have met wished that they had tried it sooner, some haven’t carried on with it permanently, but none has regretted the time spent home educating.
While you think about trying it, or as you are de-schooling, some great places to start are with reading:
Everything John Holt : John Holt books
Many many home educators blogs:
Facebook group Home Ed Bloggers has some excellent ones.
Some I’ve followed for sometime:
Patch of Puddles which I have followed for many years and now isn’t home ed but worth looking back at.
Have you read this: