Monday 5 September 2016

Happy Home Ed, Keris Stainton

Pages: 144
Publisher: self-published
Release Date: 28th August 2016
Edition: UK e-book, purchased,

Not sure home education is for you? Nor was Keris Stainton…

Keris Stainton had never really considered home education. It just seemed too radical. Eccentric. Different. Weird.

But it’s estimated that over 50,000 children are home educated in the UK and this figure is rising by 65% per year – they can’t all be weirdos, can they?

Turns out that deciding to take her 7-year-old son out of school was the perfect way to find out.

This book is a collection of Keris’s blog posts over two years of blogging about her family’s (hugely positive) experience of home edication. It also includes interviews with other home educating families, because one of the most interesting things about home ed is that everyone does it differently.

I don’t have children and I was traditionally educated all the way up to and through university, but I found Keris’s story of unschooling her boys fascinating.

Home ed is something that I've always seen as slightly strange – something for people who lives miles and miles from civilisation, are super religious or primarily an American thing. Keris completely changed my mind about it, and even though having children of my own is many, many years away from me, it’s now something I’ll seriously consider. It seems like something that would bring in the best things about school and take away the bits that made me anxious and unhappy.

I really wasn’t expecting Happy Home Ed to make me look so differently at my own experience at school, but it did. I was good at school: top sets, solid attendance, decent marks and a total goody two shoes, but I actually hated it most of the time and that was normal for me and my friends. Everything I did in lessons and in homework was driven by a fear of failing, of disappointing, my teachers, my mum and myself and I have to admit, that’s something that’s stuck with me into adulthood. So has the idea of having to buck up and get on with doing things I hate and that have no value to me – it’s a rite of passage, surely? Happy Home Ed challenged that idea for me and made me rethink my whole school experience. I suddenly realised that, with a few exceptions, I learned to achieve rather than learning to learn up until university when I chose to learn.

I stopped doing art after GCSE because an art exam is two solid school days of painting in silence and it wasn’t fun anymore. I didn’t pursue history into A-level because all we did was memorise figures and stats (and all about the wars, every. single. year.) for brutal exams. I continued with the sciences because I was good at them and they were a respectable career. I was pushed not to take English Lit at A-level because I was doing the sciences too, and I nearly didn’t. I can’t even imagine what I would have done without it – that class got me through the day at college, became my degree and is basically still my life.

Even if you aren’t considering home ed, this is still very much worth a read. So interesting!


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