Home Educating? Yes or No?


With the schools closing next week, I have seen a lot of chat on Social Media about whether it is best to home educate or not. I am sharing a few of my thoughts and would love to hear your thoughts too.


Home Educating? Yes or No?


Depends on your unique set of circumstances 

This is the biggest thing for me - someone who is trying to hold down working from home in a job that demands a lot of their time has a different set of circumstances to a stay at home parent.

Some children may struggle learning from home whereas others might thrive. There are going to be times where some family members may be sick and this will take priority, other times, you may just not have the emotional strength yourself facilitate learning.

Circumstances may change too, one week you may feel like you are on top of your game and the next week things get on top of you and you struggle to get anything done. All of these circumstances are completely normal and I just think you have to do what you have to do. There is no right or wrong answer.

I have already spotted a few posts on social media saying that home educating your kids at this time is the wrong thing to do and I am quite surprised at these if I am honest. Everyone is just trying their best and should not be made to feel bad about the choices they are making in the next few weeks/months just because they are different to your own beliefs.

I can never imagine sharing something saying that those who are choosing not to home educate are wrong and it works both ways. Nobody asked or wanted this and there is no right or wrong answer.

For me right now, our whole house is self-isolating for 14 days so I have Steve here too. 90% of my work has dried up and I am just not motivated to write about days out right now so we are home educating.

Home educating has given me a focus, something to do, a purpose and I love the messages I am receiving from other parents thanking me for sharing - it is the same kind of buzz I would normally receive when sharing a day out idea. This may change as our circumstances change and time goes on. Who knows what the future holds but for now, we have a nice little routine going on and I am really enjoying it (as I hope the kids are too).

I actually hate homework 

Despite enjoying homeschooling, I actually hate homework and I am not strict about the kids completing it. Just an observation that I find a little strange.

Education is a human right

Education is a fundamental human right. Quality education ensures the development of a fully rounded human being, narrows the gender gap for girls and women and is one of the most powerful tools for lifting children out of poverty. The fact that education is a human right is probably the biggest driving force for me.

It is a fantastic distraction 

Before the kids were sent home to self-isolate, I was honestly getting myself in such a panic about the world right now. I have cried and the big C has been all-consuming. I spent SO much time scrolling Twitter, reading articles and watching the news 24/7.

Throwing myself into home educating has been a huge distraction for me. I hardly scroll Social Media, only watch the news once per day and generally feel so much less anxious.

What else are kids going to do? 

This is another big thing for me. If I wasn't providing some kind of structure and things to do, chaos would ensue in our household.

The kids would end up sleeping late, would only show their faces when they wanted feeding or a snack and would spend most of the day fighting/playing on YouTube and XBox. What else are they going to do?

Forcing the issue is not going to work

I know that for some families, trying to educate kids at home just isn't going to work. Honestly, do not beat yourself up about this and do something else instead. Whatever it takes to get through the next few months I say.

Education is not just spellings and maths

The kids have access to some fantastic apps through school which really helps with their spelling and mathematics. They can log in at home and enjoy playing on them. They are happy to do this for 10-20 minutes each day.

But education is so much more than this, it can be drawing, learning to repair a flat tyre, learning to cook basic meals, making music, planting seeds, budgeting, learning about your local area, taking virtual museum tours - I intend on mixing life skills in with more traditional topic work.

Reading is the best thing you can do 

My kids are aged 9, 10 and 13 and something that their teachers have always commented on is their fantastic knowledge of language. They always mention how much regular reading has helped them through the years. This is 100% down to reading with them when they were little and encouraging independent reading when they were older.

If you cannot do anything else,  trust me when I say that continuing to share books with your children is the best thing you can do. Plus who doesn't want to get lost in a story?

Educating around work is tough 

Lots of us are working from home and trying to look after kids and educate at the same time. It is a HUGE ask and too much of an ask I think. YouTube videos, educational apps, activity books are your friends right now. 20 minutes a day is better than nothing and as it is looking likely that schools may be closed for a while, I think we all have to pick our battles.

It is not going to be forever 

This situation is not going to be forever. Schools will re-open and all of our children will be in the same boat. Teachers are superstars and our kids will catch up.

School hours do not match at home hours 

My kids are generally at school for 6.5 hours. This includes lessons, breaks, travelling between classrooms, lunch, preparing for lessons, a teacher dividing their attention to 30 pupils, time when children may finish early, assemblies, sport, school trips, author visits......when it boils down to it, I reckon the equivalent one-on-one time spent educating probably equates to 2 hours at home. You do not need to stick to 9am-3pm for school hours and fill all of this time with education.

Emotional wellbeing & physical health is more important 

This is a tough time for kids too - their life as they know it has been turned upside down. Taking care of their emotional and physical health is much more important than education in my opinion and if your children are not in the right frame of mind to learn, you just need to go with it and focus on providing emotional support instead.

Be kind to yourself & do not judge 

If your best friend is throwing herself into being a Pinterest Mom, support her. If your school mam friend lets her kids play on XBox while she gets her work done, support her. If your sister is teaching her kids Mandarin, support her. It is really important not to judge others at this time - it is the last thing we need.

At the same time, be kind to yourself. DO NOT feel guilty that you are not doing enough or are doing too much or struggle to understand the work your kids have been sent home from school. Comparison is the thief of joy. You know your kids best and your best is absolutely good enough.

It is a unique opportunity 

I have never spent so much time with my kids in the house. We do eat meals together and watch TV/movies etc... but as a parent of older kids, they spend a lot of time in their bedrooms these days. Spending all day together and learning alongside them has been a little tough for me as I am used to my own space but it has equally been brilliant and I am thankful for this time we have. Not sure I will be saying this in 6 weeks time though....

I am taking the approach of not teaching the kids but learning alongside them as their peer. I have been drawing, reading, watching the same Science experiments, learning a new language and more alongside them and I am really enjoying myself / exercising my own brain and learning new things too. You have to look at the positives in these dark times and for me, learning alongside my kids has definitely had a positive impact on me (for now anyway).


What do you think? How are you tackling home education?

PS I just wanted to say, that for families who home educate already, this is not what home education looks like and it is not how we would approach it in normal circumstances either. Tough times for everyone involved and we are all making the best of a bad situation. 

If you are interested, I share what we are up to each day over on my Instagram Stories (follow North East Family Fun on Instagram here), you might like to follow my Home School Diaries here and don't forget to check out 35+ ways to relax and have fun at home with tweens (which is just as important as education).



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Home Educating? Yes or No?


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2 comments

  1. Glad that you are finding a balance for you and your children. We have been home educating for a few years now and the only thing I can add is this is unusual for us too. We are normally out everyday meeting home educating friends, going to clubs, dance and drama classes, Brownies and so on. This is not what Home Educating is like for the majority of families who have chosen to educate their children away from a school setting. Hopefully this will be over soon and we can all get back to our normal routines. Take care & stay safe xx

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  2. My two have been set a lot of work from school and college. My youngest girls school has said it's optional but my teen is just doing her coursework for college which she enjoys anyway.
    We are so far doing school work on a morning and then something different on an afternoon. We're planning on doing crafts, baking, gardening and things like that.
    I think it's best to do what's right for you and your family. Having our kids home all the time is new to most of us so it's going to take some getting used to and it will take time to find a new routine x

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