Every parent in the UK has the right to educate their child at home. Educating your child outside of the school system offers many benefits, but it also has drawbacks. So how do you decide whether home education would be the right choice for your child and your family? To help make up your mind, we take a look at the main pros and cons of home education.
The pros of home education:
You have full control over what, when and how your child learns. Your child is able to progress at their own pace, with no competition or need to be ‘top of the class’. If there is a particular area that they are struggling with, you can focus more time on that subject until they are feeling more confident.
Home education allows parents, children and other family members to spend more time together. As a result, quality time is no longer restricted to evenings, weekends and school holidays. It also enables you to take unimpeded advantage of off-peak holidays and daytrips, helping you to save money and avoid the crowds.
Children who are home educated have more opportunities to socialise with people from a wider range of age groups. While after-school activities and home education support groups allow children to make friend of similar ages, a significant amount of time can also be spent with older and younger people. Some home educating parents believe this lessens the risk of negative peer pressure and social exclusion.
‘Home’ education isn’t actually restricted to your home — you can continue teaching your child anywhere and at any time. Educational opportunities can be found at the park, zoo, museum, shopping centre and on your family holiday. With a little imagination, you can make the most of every learning occasion.
It is far easier to protect your child from the negative experiences of bullying and poor teaching when your are not separated from them for several hours each day. Knowing that your child is not being victimised can offer you piece of mind and can help your child to develop a positive view of the world.
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The cons of home education:
Deciding to home educate your child involves a huge commitment from you. Apart from the hours you spend teaching your child directly, you will also need to factor in time to plan lessons and trips, and to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in education. While taking full responsibility for your child’s education can be liberating, it may occasionally leave you feeling out of your depth.
Although home education can cost as little or as much as you choose, opting to teach your child at home can affect your family’s income. Many home educating families have to survive on only one wage and not every financial situation allows for this. However, with careful planning some parents find that they are both able to work and still dedicate more than enough time to teaching their child.
Being able to spend lots of time with your child is a wonderful gift, but there is such a thing as spending too much time together. The unrelenting responsibility of being with your child for 24 hours a day can be a difficult weight to bear. Having childcare support from family members or friends, particularly other home educating parents, can reduce the pressure placed on you, but ultimately the responsibility remains yours.
4. Specialist teaching
Home education can dramatically reduce your child’s access to specialist teaching. Even if you are able to afford some private tuition, it is unlikely that you will be able to exactly replicate the range of expertise that is offered by the average school, especially at secondary level.
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