Home education isn’t the same as school at home, distance learning, or emergency schooling, but there are many things about it that I’m sure the general population have come to be familiar with and enjoy over the past couple of months. Here are a few of the things you don’t miss when you homeschool your children.
What You Don’t Miss When You Homeschool
1 – The Morning Alarm Clock
This isn’t always the case, as we do often have alarm clocks going in the morning, but there are some days when someone isn’t feeling well or the day before was long and tiring and everyone needs a good, uninterrupted rest and everyone can sleep in as long as they need to.
When you home educate you don’t need to worry about missing a bus or train for a commute to school, which gives a more relaxed morning so you can start off the day with less stress.
You may find that once you get into a good routine that you don’t need to live by the clock and can just go with the flow throughout the day. Children are creatures of habit, too, and they tend to wake at around the same time each day and are sure to get you up if you aren’t already up.
2. School Lunches
School lunches are a pain to have ready on time with fresh and healthy food that travels well and children will eat. When you home educate, you don’t need to worry so much about this. Home meals can’t get much fresher and they’re so much less expensive, too! I often make a big batch of soup that will either do us for a few days or make a couple of batches and freeze them in daily portions for the future.
Other days the children will make their own salads or wraps, or we can have leftovers from the night before. And yes, even if you eat at home you can still make cute bento box meals, too.
3. Permission Slips Aren’t Needed When You Homeschool
There always seems to be a stream of permission slips and consent forms that need to be signed by parents for school activities. We don’t have to worry about this as we’ve already discussed activities together as a family and don’t do anything that wouldn’t be agreed upon. The only time I’ve needed a consent forms signed are at the library and when I’ve been in Canada with the children and Phil signed one for border authorities.
4. Parent-Teacher Conferences
I think the only people who enjoy parent-teacher conferences are those who have “successful” children. Those who have children who struggle I’m sure feel anxiety over them. With the majority of parents working full-time this might be their only opportunity to meet with their child’s teacher over the course of a year.
For us, every dinner meal could be considered a parent-teacher conference as we discuss what the kids have done and what future plans are. And on rough days, there may even be a phone or text conference at lunch or break times, too.
5. No School Uniforms When You Homeschool
In Canada it’s very rare for schools to have uniforms unless they are private schools. Here in the UK, I don’t know of any schools that don’t require uniforms, which can be very expensive to purchase. My children appreciate that they can choose their clothing for the day (hopefully it’s clean), and on some days they even wear their pajamas to class.
In addition, they aren’t restricted to having their hair cut short (but not too short), having it up or down or wearing the approved hair band or elastics, etc. If it’s hot they can wear shorts, if it’s cold, trousers instead of skirts are accepted. And they can wear the same set of clothes all day if they’re clean – not a class uniform, a gym class uniform, and then everyday clothes at home.
6. No Fines For Travel Outside Of School Holidays
Here in the UK parents can be fined if their child isn’t at school with permission from the principal. There was a case in the news last year when a single parent wasn’t able to have her daughter present when she was going to have open heart surgery hours away from their home. That wasn’t considered an acceptable absence.
There are some parents who set aside the £60 fine per child and still take their children out of school for travel because it’s still a savings over trying to travel during official school holidays when the prices are inflated.
We find the off-season times to be best for us to travel – both due to the cost of flights, campsites, entry fees, etc., but we also are more relaxed with fewer people around so that we can enjoy our time without being rushed.
7. No Fundraising When You Homeschool
Going to school can be very expensive with the constant fundraising that is necessary to keep the school running; from playground equipment to toilet paper, to gifts for teachers and helpers, there are always expenses all year round. Costs for ingredients to bake, then the cost to purchase others’ products at bake sales, fun nights, paying to wear pajamas for a day for charity (and having to purchase new pjs for the event), the expenses add up quickly.
The pressure to be involved and support the students and teachers to improve the school and raise funds for field trips or trips abroad can impact those who aren’t easily able to afford it and make them feel worse than they did to begin with.
Some home educating families may not be able to do as much as some schooled children, but but not all children at school are able to participate in all activities, either. But there are many ways to learn that don’t involve a lot (or any) expense.
Usually, home education means there isn’t any homework. In schools, homework is often a requirement and given in addition to the regular assignments, and here it’s done right from the age of 4 (homework for 4-year-olds should not be a thing).
When you home educate, assignments can be done during ‘class time’ and as the teacher, you already know what your child is learning, so homework for parents to feel involved and engaged isn’t required.
There isn’t the stress of getting it done, not understanding what’s involved in the assignment, or having to remember to take it back to school the next day.
9. Report Card Stress
Of course, there may still be report cards when you’re home educating, depending on the requirements of the area you’re in, but the results shouldn’t be a surprise when you’re with your children everyday. You know what they’re learning, how they’re doing, which areas they’re struggling in, as well as where they excel.
Report cards, particularly in the younger years, are used more as a measure of how children compare to others in their class and less about how they’ve been improving on their own learning trajectory, particularly here in the UK where children are taught to the standardised test and schools and teachers’ success depends upon the grades that children achieve. In later years these grades are marked on a curve that changes each year and for each class, which means the goalposts are constantly moving.
One thing you don’t need to stress about daily is if your child is falling behind in school. Some children may miss a lot of school for illness or other reasons and if important concepts are taught during this time, this can have an effect on everything that builds upon that.
At school, if a day or a week or more is missed for any reason, then the classes will have to be made up at home after school, which can be a lot of pressure.
10. Falling Behind Doesn’t Happen When You Homeschool
When you home educate, you can plan your lessons around appointments, field trips, birthdays (we never have classes on birthdays), travel, etc. And if a child is ill, you can adjust their schedule accordingly so that they don’t need to fall behind. Whether this is extending a day to the end of the year, adding in a weekend, or using that day each month for catching up on classes, this can be done. You may even decide just not to do a couple of the lessons, or indeed the whole day’s worth if they aren’t fully needed, particularly during the early years when most lessons are play-based. You’ll find what works best for you. And remember, everyone learns at a different rate so that one doesn’t usually need to ‘keep up’ with schools, unless your district has specific requirements.
Don’t Take It For Granted
There are many reasons people homeschool, and these are just some of the perks and privileges of it. If you’ve never sent your children to school you may take some of these for granted, but when you sit down and think about it there is so much rush and pressure in going to school that we don’t have to deal with. Let’s enjoy our time with our children and be thankful for what we (don’t) do.
Check out My Little Poppies for some more homeschool secrets.