One of the common questions I receive is why we chose to home educate our children. It’s not a straightforward question. Each family’s intentions for home educating their children will be unique as every family’s intentions for sending their children to school is unique (which is fine if it fits your family!)
You might ask, “I thought it was home schooling?” Yes, it is. Leon and I both grew up in the US and were home schooled for part or the entirety of our school years. However, it’s important to make a cultural distinction because words in the US and UK have different meanings.
Home Education simply means your children receive their education at home. In the UK, if you refer to it as “home schooling,” it implies that a school environment happens at home. Home education isn’t necessarily better than school education—it just means there is more than one way to achieve the same objective.
Now that you have that explanation, I’ll continue…
Here are 3 reasons why we home educate.
A Flexible Education
We live abroad and work in the ministry. That requires us to travel to the US every few years for longer periods of time. We have more time and availability to travel when we don’t have to stick with the breaks in between terms at school.
On the subject of travel, we use our time on the road as educational opportunities, too. Amidst our busy schedule while travelling in the US, educational experiences organically happen. In my teacher training, we would have called them “teachable moments,” and it turns out they’re not limited to the classroom!
Home education also allows us to take breaks when we need them. We usually try to take a break every 6 weeks or so. Sometimes our breaks line up with local schools so we can see friends who attend school, otherwise we’d never get to see them. It also allows us to go on holiday when everyone else is in school.
A Customised Education
It might feel like an enormous responsibility, but I enjoy choosing what our family needs to learn and work on. Of course, I’m a teacher by profession, but looking at book lists and finding out what we’ll read and learn about for the year makes me excited. Looking for the best resources, books, and experiences for our children to use in their education is a privilege I don’t take for granted.
Another example of this is we have the freedom to delay the start of formal education if our children need it. In the England, the compulsory age for school is 5, but most children start the school year they turn 5. Mr. E has a July birthday, which means he would have started school (in September) just after his 4th birthday. He wasn’t ready at that age, and he still has some growing to do at 5, so we’ll hold off a little longer. He’s learning a lot informally, and occasionally asks to read our chapter book or do a page of Math or Handwriting. We have the flexibility to not force him to sit and learn his letters and numbers if he’s not ready yet, and that’s what we like.
A Faith-Infused Education
As a Christian mother, my heart breaks at the things I hear about being taught in schools right now. It sounds like children feel confused more than ever by various agendas taught in school. We have the freedom to infuse everything we learn about with our faith in Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word. We have lots of conversations about what the Bible says compared to what the books and others say, and soon we’ll read books that will help our children form a biblical worldview.
These are just three of our reasons. They change regularly. If you ask me on a different day, you might get a different answer. I intend the reasons I give here to reflect our family’s culture, and I pass no judgment on those who have chosen a different route for their children’s education.