Katie's Story

We have 4 children, their ages are 19, 16, 6 and 3 (4 in march). The teenagers partners live with us also, and my baby grandson. 

My younger two children have never been to school. I deregistered the older two coming up to 7 yrs ago. They were 9 and 12. Both at separate schools but experiencing different issues and N (6yr old) was born with some health issues (diaphragmatic hernia, talipes) that resulted in a lot of hospital time. Witnessing my 9 year old son getting assaulted and the teacher backing into her classroom to avoid dealing with it was the final straw. We decided it would be beneficial to ALL of us to deregister for 6 months and look to enrol in new schools in the January term. 

The change in them was almost instant. Once that pressure and forced routine was removed from their lives they began to thrive! Needless to say, we never really looked back. 

The older two are nearly "finished" with their home ed days now. If you ever really finish. 19 yr old is studying a criminology course from home, classed as clinically vulnerable and signed off work currently due to health issues. 16 yr old currently hasn't hit "compulsory education" age. He is attending a work skills course where he gets English, Maths and IT qualifications. He is also doing a TLM course in Open Systems and Advanced Manufacturing Technologies. 

We follow a very unstructured, child led  unschooling approach with the younger two children. M (aged 3) has Mosaic Downs syndrome, poor vision and speech delay and N has been left with very tight tendons and muscle imbalance from his talipes. So being able to take things at their own pace is important. And we all benefit from so much time outside. I think the most important thing to "teach" a child is how to love to learn, so that they may never stop. 

Any plans for the future?  We don't have big plans for the future, we are enjoying these days and moving one step at a time. We would love to take the younger two road schooling for a period of time but currently aren't in a position to plan for that. But we have always incorporated learning opportunities into all our road trips and holidays. 

From the beginning I wish I had known what a good choice home education is! I would never have gone against my judgement and made older children attend school had I known there was an alternative that could work so well. And I wish I had known to trust their ability to self-direct their learning. It would have saved me so much stress in those early days when they seemed so calm and relaxed and I was panicking about failing them! 

We don't have a typical week. Our days and weeks are led by weather, moods, energy levels and interests. Outside of Covid we had regular social meets and classes for EYFS Science, Exploring nature with children group, horse riding and swimming but none of those are currently running. 

We are very fortunate that my husband has a good Monday to Friday job in IT. I work on Saturdays running my Slimming world business and have continued to enrol and support members to lose weight remotely throughout lockdown.  

You can follow Katie's adventures into Home Education with her wildlings at @freerangelearningtot-teen 

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