Benefits of home education

The things that matter when homeschooling

In this article, Karen Binedell, mum to ‘Our Travelling Family’, talks about the benefits of home education.

It’s March, Spring has officially sprung and Our Travelling Family will be based at our 17th volunteer project in Evora, Portugal for the next four months. With sole charge of a huge farm, four lively horses and a large farm dog called Jake, I think it would be fair to say it’s unlikely we’ll have many dull moments.

Two of our three children are about to embark on their new courses (year 8 and IGCSE) while our eldest prepares to write his IGCSE’s in Aljezur in May.

This month I have chosen to focus on a topic that is often overlooked or downplayed and that is the incredible benefits that come with choosing to homeschool your child or children. As many of you already know our decision to homeschool was based on the fact that we wanted to spend an extended amount of time travelling without having our children fall behind in their studies. And I can honestly say it is one of the best decisions we have made as parents.

Let me tell you why.

Our Travelling Family, the Binedells

Sebastian, Aiden and Ella homeschooled with Wolsey Hall Oxford for 18 months while they travelled around Europe in a caravan volunteering.

One on the benefits of home education has been that Ella has become an independent learner

Independent learners and thinkers

One of the key benefits of home education that we have loved seeing over the course of a year is how from week to week our children have developed into confident, independent learners. It’s not something that happens overnight but with each new module and each assignment completed they take more responsibility for their own education. They learn to research, to question and to apply what they have learnt. Skills that will serve them well should they decide to move on to tertiary education.

Access to your curriculum 24/7

Homeschooling means access to your curriculum 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No more disruption due to staff absence, inset days or school closures. The ability to pick when and where you study rather than the rigid 9-3, Monday-Friday school day.

Discovering where passion and interest lie

This is something that parents of children who attend mainstream school often don’t get to see and it’s something that really opened our eyes to the changes that are needed but unlikely to be implemented in mainstream school. As obvious as it may sound, when a child is passionate or interested in a subject they naturally do well. When they have very little interest the simplest task can become a nightmare. With traditional schooling children have very little control over this, however, with homeschooling they are able to choose subjects and courses that excite their curiosity and play to their strengths.

Improved mental health

We’re finally at a point where people are realising how important it is to make mental health a priority. In my opinion, when considering education (especially at a Secondary Level) homeschooling is an environment which nurtures mental health. Free from peer pressure, ridicule or bullying, children are given the freedom and opportunity to learn, grow and develop at their own pace. They are able to ask questions and make mistakes without fear of being judged.

A flexible timetable 

Imagine if school revolved around your timetable rather than the other way around. With Wolsey Hall homeschooling, it does. Before starting on a course your child’s Student Progress Manager will ask if there are any breaks or holidays you would like to schedule in. For us it was four weeks over July and August (a summer break in France) and a further three weeks in October when our family will trek to Everest base camp. The children’s timetables have been designed to take these dates into account whilst still ensuring they finish their courses by December and March respectively.

More time spent outdoors 

As a result of shorter school days our children spend much more time outdoors which again, is beneficial to both mental and physical wellbeing.  More free time has also meant our three have had the chance to discover new hobbies and interests like woodwork, piano and writing.

One benfit of home education is allowing time for hobbies

No going back!

These are just a few of the benefits of home education through Wolsey Hall Oxford but there are many, many more that could be added to the list:

  • Incredible tutors and Student Progress Managers who really have your child’s best interest at heart.
  • A school that works together to ensure the best outcome for each and every student.
  • An online platform (Canvas) where students access their courses, submit assignments and message their tutors. Parents also make use of this system in order to track their child’s progress.
  • When it comes to IGCSE’s there are exam test centres all over the world.

Recently a friend asked me whether we would enrol the kids in mainstream school were we to return to the UK. My answer….Absolutely not!