From Home Ed to School

From Home Ed to School

I was homeschooled until I was 17 and one of the biggest benefits has been being with my family a lot of the time.   My memories of early homeschooling include sitting around the kitchen table with my siblings to do school work, going on trips together with friends to castles/museums/walks and reading the bible at breakfast time.  All this means I get on really well with my family and love spending time with them. We even had a whole year away together so we got to spend a LOT of time with each other then!  We all get on really well and like doing a lot of the same things as well as having our own interests.

Another great thing about being homeschooled has been learning to teach myself.  It’s been a gradual process as my studying has become more and more independent but I was able to teach myself the curriculum for all the GCSEs I took and I have found it really helpful with my A-levels even though I’m now at school (it was especially helpful having those skills during lockdown when there was no school, a lot of my friends struggled as they weren’t used to learning by themselves).

A question homeschoolers often get asked is ‘do you have any friends?’!  I could point to various activities like sports, church, clubs etc but my most numerous and best friendships have been with other homeschoolers.  When we were younger we spent time almost every day with other homeschool families to play, study, go on walks and had yearly camping trips together.  I’ve never felt that there has been a lack of people to be friends with and it has been great to have the shared experience of being homeschooled and almost growing up with other families and doing so many things together.  I have close friends who are a couple of years older and a couple of years younger – if I was in school I guess a lot of my friends would all be the same age.

I started doing some online English courses with Dreaming Spires Home Learning a couple of years ago and really loved the lessons and the interaction with the other students and I think this helped to prepare me for starting school.

When I was 17 I started doing my A-levels at our local secondary school.  I think this is a really good time to enter the school system because sixth-form is a lot more relaxed, I only have to go in for my lessons (which are 3 subjects that I have chosen to study) and there is no school uniform!! I’ve found it easy making friends with some of the others who are doing the same subjects.  I enjoy the routine of school and find it helpful to have the deadlines for doing my homework!

Story written by Dan and uploaded by Streams.

Leaving School Age 9

The start of my learning journey actually began in school. We lived in Leeds when I was little and I started school age four. I don’t remember too much other than I had one special friend at school and her name was H. We were really good friends, we played a lot. I had a few other friends, we liked Disney films back then and would act out movies like Cinderella. It was really fun. My mum and dad started thinking about moving, and not long after we moved from Leeds to Bristol. We arrived in Bristol and as there were no spaces at the local school it was decided we would home educate and wait. So I had a year at home, then I went to the local school, it didn’t take very long to meet some of the girls in my class. In year three, I remember I met a girl called A. She was my only friend but we didn’t play that much together. I think she must have been introverted because she liked to go off on her own for some space. A year later, I went into year 4 and that was better since I gathered a group of friends; we were all into fairies so that’s kind of what we did at break and lunch time. School was okay but I didn’t love it.

Then, in the summer break, life changed… I decided that I didn’t want to go back to school. I was fascinated by my two younger brothers who were already home educated. Mum had taken them out of school as they did not enjoy it, in fact they did not like it at all and were unhappy. So I joined them! I loved it. It felt so free. I began to enjoy learning a lot more as I could do learning my own way… I had two years at home enjoying our rhythm and spending lots of family time together which I loved. When I turned 11 I started to wonder about secondary school as I read a leaflet about my local school, it wouldn’t go out of my mind. So, with mum and dad I visited three different secondary schools and wondered about going for a long time. Mum was supportive and said it was my decision. I knew that I had the choice to try it and if I didn’t like it I could always change my mind and return to home ed. So it felt like I was going to go. I had a best friend who was at school (best friend from year 4) we would start secondary together. Then she got a place in a school which was different to the one I was planning to go to. I felt stuck again about what to do. But on a holiday in Switzerland, when I was away with just my mum and grandpa, I decided that home ed was best for me. I had some separation anxiety and when I thought about not being with mum it made me worry. This was part of my decision but also I realised I was lucky to have choices in my learning and explore my passions.

Now two years on, I would be in year 9, I am so happy. I have never looked back since and I have met some amazing friends who home ed too. I am in Dreaming Spires (an online learning ‘school’) doing three courses that I have chosen to study. Dreaming Spires is amazing as I get to connect with people from around the world, who I have never physically met, but we have become friends. I love learning with them.  I also still meet local friends and do different things in the week. I self direct my learning and my mum has empowered me to do this, so I get to choose what I study and I plan my own day. This is a special gift to me. I would say to other kids thinking about home ed that it is the best!

Written by Kez and uploaded by Streams.