These are show notes taken from our podcast Episode #4: Why Home Educate? Listen to the full audio podcast here.
Gabriela, one of our parents, sits down with Syd as they talk about her family’s transition to home education and how their experiences changed the course of their lives for the better.
A classroom doesn’t need to have four walls.
I’ve taken you through my experience of the education system, the philosophy behind UK Virtual School, and the fundamental core values that shape our community. This time, we will briefly explore why families home educate. It turns out that it’s not just me who finds our current schooling system problematic. I’d like to welcome Gabriela, a parent of two young children in both primary and secondary. Gabriela dipped her feet into home education during the pandemic and has since decided to permanently stick with home education going forward. We caught up and discussed our personal experiences – from the teachers of her kids in school to how schools felt like a prison.
“I didn’t like the educational system in the UK because they were suppressing the kids. [We] had a great teacher and he said, he couldn’t just go above this one level – above this barrier as told by his head teacher or by rules. Even the greatest and smartest child who wants to go up can’t, because they were suppressed,” Gabriela shared.
They have to show progress, don’t they? It becomes about the grades and the targets rather than the kids individually. When COVID hit, families had the opportunity to be with their kids completely and work with them. Gabriela and her children were no exception to this.
“I think it was a great opportunity to take power in your hands and know your kids more; know what they like, what they don’t like; know how they behave. I know them better now,” she narrated. “When you’re with your kids 24 hours for 12 months, you’ll know exactly what they want. You’ll know exactly what they need.”
“My kids had always told me, ‘oh, the school looks like a jail, mommy’ and that shouldn’t be.”
When she said that, I pondered – for a lot of kids it feels like imprisonment because they have to stay there for a certain length of time. They can’t move from their seats. They can’t do this, they can’t go to the toilet without asking permission. There are so many restrictions placed on them. For some kids, they thrive on being told exactly what to do. But most kids need the ability to move around and just be kids.
I recalled my teaching experience in the institution as it had felt like a prison to me, as a teacher, because we were really restricted in what we could do with the kids. It’s interesting that Gabriela used the same comparison because I felt the exact same way.
What convinced her to try UK Virtual School? “The school doesn’t have any barriers – it’s open,” Gabriela said. “Let’s go give it a try. An opportunity for a school that is open and has no walls.”
A school without walls. It’s liberating. It creates that feeling of freedom. It’s really nice because some of our teachers are traveling and they’ll teach. We’ve also had kids who are camping and they’ll be on their laptops learning. It can literally be schooling wherever you are. I asked Gabriela of their initial experience when they first joined us.
“The first experience was great because my kids love it. It took the pressure off my shoulder because I’m also working. They met really great teachers and there is flexibility. In the morning, they don’t have to get up and rush to school. I don’t have to worry too much. I can do my own stuff – I can schedule my work in the morning,” Gabriela continued to share. “Another highlight, the communication is fantastic! When I message, I get a reply very soon, it’s very quick. When I go to some concerns, I get a really nice explanation.”
“I would like to say to the parents: definitely go and give home education a try. Just give it a try and see how it works for you. If I didn’t try, I probably would never have known that it’s a good one.”
Gabriela knew the system wasn’t working for her kids but now, both are happier and excelling. For many like Gabriela’s family, COVID created a break in their normal routines which gave them the courage to continue with home education throughout the pandemic. Was that you? Did you begin home educating during the pandemic or were you already home educating? Come and share your journey with us in the UK Virtual School Facebook group.
Podcasts are accessible to many families due to the number of platforms hosting them – and you don’t have to be enrolled to listen and be able to relate! The content covered is just as much of a learning journey to everyone. The UK Virtual School podcast plays a key part in our journey to an education revolution. Hosted by our founder Syd, the series covers a plethora of topics about changing the landscape of home education – the UKVS ethos, tips and guides for parents, shifting mindsets, interviews with actual parents and teachers, and many more! Listen to the series and episodes here.