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All mums? – by a Home Educating Dad
Despite our initial reservations, our adventure in Home Education turned out to be a fantastic success. That is once we had realised that there isn’t a template to follow, there is no right or wrong way of doing it (however there is a good and a bad way!). You are responsible for your child’s education, and are therefore free to choose the path you take.
We decided our daughter would be Home Educated with our son and did not even register her for school. My wife had researched the legality of what we were doing to make sure that we did not fall foul of the law. In fact we wanted to ensure that we were doing everything correctly, so we decided to inform the Local Education Authority (LEA) of our intention to Home Educate both of our children. Some Home Educators have had a bad experience with their LEA, ours was very positive.
Our LEA had a dedicated Home Education Officer and we arranged a home visit from her. At the time, we were using our conservatory as the children’s “classroom”, the walls were adorned with educational posters and the children’s work. Stacked on the floor were educational toys/games as well as fun games. This is where we were to meet.
We didn’t tell our children of the visit, we had nothing to hide so they could answer any questions in their own words. The LEA Officer met with us all and was impressed with the environment we had created. She spoke to our children and we showed her our project plan for the children’s education. At the end of the meeting, she confirmed that there was no need to have any further contact with her for a year. In fact, for the next and further years we simply sent her the updated project plan and samples of the children’s work and she was happy to leave us alone. Apart from the yearly emails thanking us, we never heard from the LEA again.
I must add a disclaimer here dear reader, deciding your Home Education route is personal to yourselves and I take no responsibility for your contact with your own LEA.
My wife joined many HE groups and took our children to many HE outings and events. This was pre-Covid and there were a lot of great outings where they met other Home Educating families. A fun time was had by all and I joined in on the few days I could get off work. One thing I did notice was that the majority of events were attended with mums and their children, which on the occasions I attended without my wife, I did find a little intimidating. Don’t get me wrong, I was made most welcome but being the only man in a room of mums who regularly meet to chat did make me feel a little out of place and unsure of myself.
Then, someone with great foresight, created a group HE activity run on the weekends and arranged by dads. Brilliant, we created flashing LED spacecraft out of old electric junk and cooked dinner from ingredients we had foraged. The children had a great time, the dads got to talk to each other about Home Education and I came away with the confidence to hold my own in any future mum centric outings.
I started this episode of the Dad Blog saying that there is no fixed template for how to Home Educate, well there is also no Home Educator ‘type’. I have met Home Edders from all walks of life, farmers, psychologists, many unemployed, teachers, ex-teachers, University Lecturers, actors, the list is endless.
What I discovered from all this variety, is that everyone educated their children in different ways and you can customise your own curriculum to how your child learns best. So for my son, whose style is academic, we taught differently to my daughter who is artistic. We made learning fun, we taught the core English, Maths and Science subjects but if they got bored we simply got out their project on Egyptians or the moon landings.
I really enjoyed teaching them and learned a lot myself.
Next Blog – A life changing event