Countering Home Ed Opposition

By Katy Pearce 

As home educators we can experience a lot of opposition. I found it wasn’t just family members but outspoken friends as well. As soon as we decided to home educate, that’s when we started receiving the comments. I think what hurt the most was the negative comments we received from our families and from people who I thought of as close friends. We were told that we were damaging our children. We were asked about the social side of things, and told, ‘You are going to make your children socially awkward’. 

But the fact is, my children were socially awkward when they were at school. My daughter was being bullied throughout school, starting in kinder and all the way until grade 4. The bullying became worse in her last year at school. There was name calling, and excluding her in class and on the playground. Meetings with teachers did not help. My son was a school refuser – it was a fight to get him to school and keep him there. He spent most of his time absent from school. My son has high-functioning autism. 

Now they have a big circle of friends due to home education and are social butterflies. Being home educated they have social interaction, either face-to-face or on the computer. I had one friend telling me about the disadvantages of home education. She gave me a big list trying to talk me out of it, such as that my children were going to be below their peers’ education, but when I look back on it, she didn’t have a clue. My husband initially found it difficult to get his head around home education, but we both took it year by year. Now he is happy with what we are learning. 

Another thing people wanted to know about were our lesson plans. When I explained that we were doing some structured and some unstructured learning, I was told that children had to have structured lessons. I realised it has nothing to do with other people. Other people’s mistaken ideas about home education surprised me. I have lost friends (well, I thought they were friends) and my father-in-law still walks into our house and shouts the times table or random spelling words. 

My daughter requires a structured approach because of anxiety, but my son is better with unschooling due to autism. Over this year (yes only a year!) I have discovered what makes my children tick in their learning, as well as gaining an understanding of myself as a home educator. You can pick a method to suit you, and learn the way that is best for you and your children. Most importantly, you can enjoy your children and ignore the haters. 

Otherways 169 (August 2021)

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