Monday, 31 January 2011

Home Education

Job Juggling and the Home Educating Family
As lifestyle challenges go, combining earning a living whilst at the same time home educating your children, has to be one of the toughest. I'm assuming, for the purposes of this article, that you're not one of the few home educating families where the parents can afford to go out to work and employ someone to supervise and home educate their children for them. For most families these days, school provides a large chunk of free child-care and this is what many parents exploit in order for them to be able to earn a living whilst raising children. So, what do you do when you do not have access to hours of child-free work time each day? What can you do if you are a single parent and/or home educating very young or disabled children? Balancing income and costs.

My job, though home-based and part-time, took up around 30 hours per week, some of it spent away from home. I wasn't happy spending that amount of time working or being away from my children while they were young (age 8 and 6). So, I quit my job in order to home educate. The tenets of Voluntary Simplicity are frugal consumption, ecological awareness and personal growth. I realised there were seeds of resentment threatening to germinate as a result of our decision to home educate. I needed a change of perspective.
What are your options for cutting costs?
When we take our children out of school (or decide not to start sending them) and home educate, it can appear that we have lost the time necessary to earn a living. One option is to view our time spent with the children as a time to practice frugality. At the same time we can be educating our children. 1. Home education eliminates the need for the school run. 2. By being at home more, all the family have the opportunity to take part in daily cost saving activities such as recycling, composting, growing and cooking their own food, maintaining the house and garden, learning how to reuse and repair items rather than just throw them away. There are further savings to be had by buying your food locally and through farmers' markets and by forming a food co-op with other local home educating families. At home, parents may point out all the alternatives of which they are aware. Many cost-saving measures are healthier for us as well as providing our children with interesting educational opportunities. What are your options for generating an income?
I find it uplifting to hear of the many resourceful and imaginative ways in which home educating parents choose to earn money. For me that job was life coaching. A married couple with 4 children who both teach musical instruments. A single mum who, in return for food and accommodation for her and her two children, carries out voluntary work for a charity in several different countries.
A married couple with 3 young children where both partners are business consultants and take it in turns to work. When they occasionally have to work away from home together for a day or two, the children's grandparents provide childcare.
A single mum who re-trained as an herbalist and sees clients at her home.
Other jobs that I've know home-educating parents to do, either as a couple or alone, are:
Running a franchise business selling clothes or books in people's homes or running an after school club.
Making and selling specialist foods, home-made clothes, soap, and jewellery.
Travelling with the children and being employed in a variety of casual or temporary jobs.
The Benefit Dilemma
Something that I've had considerable trouble facing since starting home education is the idea of being dependent on someone else for my income, whether it was my ex-husband or the state. The latest efforts by the Government to get single parents "back to work" under the mistaken impression that all single parents of over 7 year olds must have nothing constructive to do with their time, has not helped to quash this social stigma.
Time again for a change in perspective, I think. By home educating each child, we are saving the state several thousand pounds per year and yet we receive nothing from the state to fund our home education. The benefit that home educated children (and therefore society as a whole as they grow up) receive from being nurtured in this way is something that the rest of society finds it hard to acknowledge and value at the moment. Also remember that as your children grow up so your life and work situation will change. Being at home with your children is a wonderful opportunity to learn new skills and broaden your horizons before returning to work or re-training if that's what you choose to do.
My experience during my 9 years of home educating so far is that home educators are a feisty bunch and not people to be too daunted by a challenge or two. Combining earning an income with home education requires above all an open and creative mind, capable of thinking outside the box. If parents don't have those perspectives when they first start home educating, many learn to cultivate them as a result! In most jurisdictions, 'education' is considered as an indispensable part of a child's rights.
In the UK, education has always commanded a high priority in the society. Why Home Education?
Due to a multicultural and plural society as prevalent in the UK, the reasons for parents to opt for Home Education may vary. Some of the common factors influencing parents' decisions regarding the educational needs of their children include:
- Religious, philosophical, or spiritual compulsions
- Unsatisfactory school system
- Lack of suitable schools in the locality
- To meet the specific and/or special needs of some children, like those suffering from diseases such as Cerebral Palsy, autism etc.
- Failure of child and school management to effectively tackle certain conditions in school, like bullying, corporal punishment etc.
- Financial reasons etc.
Recently, the Parental Responsibility has emerged as one of the major reasons for Home-Educating children in the UK. Whatever may be the compelling circumstances, Home Education is here to stay, and is being increasingly preferred in the UK. An estimated 100,000 children between the ages of 5 and 16 are being given Home Education by their parents in the United Kingdom, and the figure is likely to increase in the coming years.
Benefits of Home Education
Home Education (tutorial-based teaching) has several advantages over classroom education (instructions-based teaching). 1. The child tends to receive individualistic and far more attention at home than at school.
- Comfortable home environment in the company of parents gives the child an ideal environment to learn.
-The absence of awe-inspiring teachers means quick feedback from the child to assess his/her learning capabilities.
- The Child can learn at their own pace, and follow their own curriculum and interests.
- Enhanced self-motivation and self-discipline in the child.
- Instilment of parental values instead of peer values in the child.
- Special children need special attention that can only be provided under home conditions.
- Above all, as a parental responsibility of teaching your child, nothing is more beneficial and satisfactory than to take complete responsibility of your child's education.
Shortcomings of Home Education
One must also consider some disadvantages of Home Education before deciding the academic future of the child. Moreover, they might not be abreast of the latest technologies and teaching aids that might help the child learn better.
- Even both the parents combined may not know all the subjects required for the proper education of the child.
- Parents may ultimately spend a considerable amount of time equipping themselves with the skills to teach their child; thus, losing out on the chance to supplement the family income.
- Laboratories, gyms, and other facilities provided by school authorities may not be accessible from home. Home Education in UK - Legal Aspect
Home Education has legal sanction in all three regions in the UK. Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 (England and Wales), Sections 30 of Education (Scotland) Act 1980, and Article 45 of Education and Libraries (Northern Ireland) Order 1986, are the relevant legal provisions that provide the requisite teeth to the concept of Home Education in the UK.
When asked what school my kids go to, I explained that we are a home educating family. Upon discovering this, one Mom exclaimed, rather excitedly "Oh! Is it packs of large Bible toting families? While the images above may indeed describe some home educating families, it certainly does not describe all of us.
I'm a home educating Mom for nearly ten years now. (Although sometimes we do actually wear rainbow tie-dye tee-shirts) Who is the home educating Mom then? The Home Educating Mom is the Mom who has made a conscious decision to help her children become educated through experiencing the world around them. The Home Educating Mom isn't particularly obvious though and does not fit into a stereotype. The Home educating Mom has twelve kids or one kid. The Home Educating Mom drives a Nissan, or a Hummer or a Hybrid or a Cadillac. The Home educating Mom has long hair in braids, or a crew cut. You will find the Home Educating mother at the health food store or the mall or the local thrift store. Is the happy, confident, vibrant and fun Home Educating Mom in you? You don't look like a homeschooling Mom!


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