‘Do home educated kids have friends’, may sound like quite a rude question to ask, but according to 14 year old Iona, this and other questions are asked of her when she says that she doesn’t go to school.
She answers common questions in our article about the reality of home ed.
Hi. My name is Iona. I am home educated. When I tell people this, they ask me questions about what it’s like to be home-educated. I am hardly exemplary among my home-educated friends, but each family has it’s own teaching and living methods.
Here are the questions people ask me about my life-style, and the answers I give.
How do you learn?
I learn out of books, mostly, but I also do some stuff from to computer. I also have lessons in music.
What do you do all day?
School work. My mum or dad often read aloud to me, or us, and we do craft, sewing, drawing, and my brother plays with the lego. Actually, he does that all the time anyway.
What time do you start school?
Ten-ish most days.
What lessons do you do?
Maths, English (working from a poetry book, writing stuff, such as stories, book reviews, and interviews), science (biology), music (cornet/trumpet, singing, piano), French, geography, history, I don’t really do RE but I have a book about religions.
Do you have friends?
What kind of a question is that? I have friends still from nursery and pre-school, other home-educated friends, kids of friends of my parents, and friends from clubs that I go to.
When do you see your friends?
I see some friends at band and youth group and so on, and some over the internet, like skype and email. But the rest I’ve sort of lost contact with. I have three pen friends, but I haven’t written a letter in at least six months. I know. I am a failure.
Don’t you get lonely?
What, with a rabid brother and sister on the loose?
When did you start being home-educated?
I’ve never been to school. My parents began teaching me when I was four. Loads of my home ed friends used to go to school but pulled out, and it seems like half our numbers have been reduced when they get to around high school age, and decide to go there. *sniff.
Do you get bored of telling people about your life?
Not really. I like people to know that not everyone has to do things the same way. Also, it’s a cause for jealousy. What? Everyone’s entitled to a little glamour!
What do you want to be? What are your ambitions?
Hmm. That’s a hard one. I like writing, so maybe a journalist would be a good option. It’d be cool to be an author, who knows, maybe I could write the book that displaces Harry Potter! I also enjoy music, I’d like to make opera cool, it’s so fun to sing!
What are you good at?
Music. After I finish my GCSEs I’ll still be a year too young for college, so I’m going to learn lots of new instruments apart from my trumpet piano singing and ukulele.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not doing schoolwork?
I like baking and cooking. I recently discovered that I can make bread. My mum always makes a fuss about how complicated bread is, so I steered clear of the bread section in my recipe book, but I find kneading rather therapeutic, and the smell of rising dough is just heavenly. I also like playing my ukulele, harmonica, nose flute, writing songs and drawing. And reading! Boy oh boy, don’t get me started, just don’t!
What are you going to do about GCSEs?
Kirklees, the area where I live is probably the best place for home-educators in the country. There is a centre where home-educated kids can go to sit GCSEs. I have done my English language GCSE this summer, and next year I am going to do geography, French, English literature, biology and maths. Some families just skip GCSEs altogether, though.
You’ve already done a GCSE? How old are you then?
I am fourteen, but I know someone who did their French GCSE at age ten or eleven, and got an A!
Why don’t you want to go to school?
I think I can learn better at home. Here, I can do things at my own pace. If I went to school at my own year, I would find myself way ahead in some subjects, and far behind in others.
Who teaches you?
My dad on most days, but my mum teaches us one day a week when she’s not working. It used to be the other way around.
Is your dad a teacher then?
Home-education doesn’t have to be facilitated by a professional teacher, as long as a vague plan is in place, education facilitates its-self!
What clubs do you do?
I go to guides, youth group, choir, brass band and Jazz band.
My name is Iona. I am 13 years old. I am home-educated, and have never been to school.
I love writing poems, stories, and play scripts, but I also write my own music.
What do you think? Does it sound really cool, or do you prefer to go to school? Or maybe you are home educated, and have been asked even ruder questions (is that even possible?!)