Home schooling has progressively looked like a more attractive option for our family for a number of reasons. I think partly its financial as the boys school has now brought in fines if you take your children out of school to go on holiday, but for us that is the most affordable time. Schools are getting stricter and stricter regarding absence and I think I would prefer the freedom of picking and choosing when we do things, I would like to think we have some element of autonomy as a family and its not all dictated to us. It’s very restrictive trying to slot everything in with only a couple of hours of an evening and the weekend. If you could plan the day yourself you could choose to visit attractions in the week when they are quieter and then continue the learning schedule throughout the weekend.
It’s obviously working for the government officials as apparently 500,000 fewer school days were missed according to this article in the Telegraph but many families cannot afford to take their children on holiday in the peak summer holidays. I think holidays enrich our lives, experiencing new things and immersing in a different culture. We do some top up learning at home so I think if you already take an active interest in your child’s life you should have some degree of flexibility to book a few days off here and there as long as its well managed and not excessive. When my boys move onto secondary education I might not be quite as helpful as I am now, but I could always hire a private tutor such as Fleet Tutors for additional support to ensure they keep up with their peers. It would be a small price to pay not to be governed by the rules of a school and getting a chance to juggle life to our own needs, not feeling the boys are confined to a classroom.
On top of the issues with holidays and fines there has been a lot of bad press lately about children lacking basic skills when finishing school. If you home school you can structure the day to cover what is needed. Teaching your children one to one or in a small group if you have a few more children is bound to be more intensive and focused than being one pupil lost in a class of 30! You can make sure nothing is missed and that there standard of literacy and numeracy is acceptable. There are lots of free resources available online so the task of guiding your children on there learning journey need not be stressful! You can do a burst of learning then head outdoors and see what the world has to offer, you can mould the day around their interests and find out what really appeals to them.
I am torn though as I do think school gives them a chance to socialise with friends on a regular basis, although sometimes you wonder when they pick up a choice selection of swear words whether that was an entirely useful experiencel!!!