1. You are not expected to register with the Local Education Authority
If your children are attending school, like my older ones did, then all required is for you to send in a letter to the Head Teacher deregistering your child from the school. That’s it. In the past, I have had people ask me if my children were registered with the Local Authority and frankly, I am not sure what they meant. My children are known to the Local Authority through various means such as performance licences obtained for shows and productions they took part in and Council run activities like the West Sussex Music Services. There is no such thing as being registered with the Local Authority because registration is not statutory so therefore should not be in place and I really wish some home edders get to grips with this before the false notion that we all could be registered perpetuates further.
2. You need not start wearing tie dye clothings, don Birkenstocks, eat hummus, carry the fruits of your allotment in a wooden trug and call it lunch or indeed, go vegetarian.
No. No. No. No. No. My most treasured piece of clothing is the £400 pink Chinese Silk underbust corset Slaveboy bought me for my birthday 4 years ago. Birkenstocks are actually made out of three year old crushed rice cakes glued together with tree sap. Hummus is what happens when you fukk up your chickpea curry. Don’t even get me started on the trugs and Slaveboy is still remembered for handing out hot sausage sandwiches to our sproglettes at the home ed small school they used to attend. Noone told him that vegetarian food was one of the unwritten rules.
3. You need not prescribe to a different parenting style.
Unless you want to. From my experience, I have come across more home ed parents who tend to explore, advocate/endure, prescribe to various schools of thought on raising children than I have of parents with school attending children. You don’t need to, unless this is already your thing. You really won’t fuck up this parenting lark that massively even without reading these books, I promise you.
4. If you do have a partner, do try to remember that they exist as an entity other than just co-parent/taxi driver/bottle washer/etc.
Don’t wait 18 years to spend some quality time with each other. You’ll wake up one day realising you’ve been living with a stranger. The children also need to see you interact as soul mates/friends/partners, not just as parents. You are their link to the adult world and adult relationships so make it a good one. Plus, the little blighters might never leave home and rusty sex at seventy might be tricky without some years of practise.
5. Home Edding alone will not automatically grant you well behaved children.
Some children are just hard work. I remember my adult step son saying that my then 3 year old Small Shouty One was rude. I retorted by saying that they’re supposed to be rude at that age, before proceeding to ask what his excuse was. I’m still waiting for the answer.
6. Home Edding alone will not automatically grant you well behaved children so accept your role as a parent.
I know it must be hard. You get told when’s best to get pregnant. You get told how best to get pregnant. You get told how, and what and rarely the why and you get railroaded into where the experts best think you ought to have your baby. So on, and so forth, with the nappies, and the feeding, and the colic, and what to feed them. Please, please, please, remember this, long after the experts leave you behind and the expert books are used to prop up wonky tables, you will still remain the parent. So accept the role, acknowledge that the buck stops with you, and that while children have freewill and innate wisdom, it is still NOT a dirty thing to instil a sense of discipline. Discipline is what takes your child’s raw talent and turns it into a gift that will enrich his life. Discipline means actually helping them understand that a series of failure is what is needed to get further. Discipline is actually putting your foot down and declaring that as their parent, you do sometimes know better. And it is even harder in the home ed community, where phrases like radical unschooling, autonomous education, communicating without violence and taking children seriously often get bandied about like they are some new party political buzzwords (the meanings of which are still fluid and sketchily defined).
7. Home Ed Will Not Preserve The Chastity of Your Teenage Daughter.
I don’t know what will. Most girls now lose their innocence waaaayyy before their virginity anyways. Find something else to obsess about. Wars are being waged all over the world and we’re still fannying about a half piece of skin.
8. You Are The Expert Here.
You’ve always been and you’re here to stay. Home Ed or no home ed. And you don’t become lesser the expert if you decide to not home ed any longer. This is your lot. Deal with it and don’t expect someone else to sort your shit out.
9. Children are children, home ed or not.
So maybe remember that when you try to forge new friendships for your children. Many home edders comment about the superficiality of the school environment where children tend to socialise within the same age groups. So don’t fall into the same trap by choosing to allow your children to fraternise with only other home edding children.
10. Have fun.
Seriously. I even have to remind myself of this. The decision to home ed isn’t some huge weight of the world thing you are undertaking. It’s child rearing but only in a different way, with a special name. No less and no more than the next parent you know. Children don’t give two jots about the philosophy of it, or the principles behind it or whatever. Have fun, but remember, you are the parent. Someone needs to take charge and if you don’t do it, someone else will.
Be thankful for small mercies. I could’ve been in charge.