Good luck, Joe Wicks: Home educating sounds ideal – but it would be my nightmare

It sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?

‘There’s really nothing more to the decision than we just love being together as a family and want to spend more time with the kids while we can… we want the freedom to travel more and explore the world.’

Reading Joe Wicks’s explanation for taking his four-year-old child, Indie, out of school to home educate her makes the whole situation sound so wholesome, so… idyllic. It’s almost enough to make me want to do it myself.

I mean, in theory, it just sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

Rather than merely sitting at tables, reading books to learn about facts, you could plan incredible, interactive days, where your children barely realised they were learning anything because you were all having such a huge amount of fun.  

You could take them to museums to learn about history and science, or out to the park to draw flowers and birds.

You could learn about money by going to local fruit and veg shops, letting your children count out the change to buy their own grapes and strawberries, then go home and make your own fruit salad.

You could build a miniature planetarium to discover the solar system, go on litter picks to learn about the environment and recycling or take cool day trips to local farms and feed the animals.

But practically, I have a sneaky suspicion that, if I decided to take my two children – Theo, now five, and Immy, three – out of school to home educate them, that wonderful dream scenario would last all of about seven minutes.

At the moment, I can barely rip Theo, who is currently in reception at primary school, away from his favourite toy tiger and lion for the three minutes it takes him to read his nine-page homework book.

And even though he loves maths and will count to a 100 umpteen times in a row if I’ll let him (and quite often, just out of fascination, I will, just to see how many times he’ll whizz through the numbers before he gets bored and gives up), will he sit down with me and do two sums in the school holidays? I don’t think so.   

So if I was faced with home educating five days a week, teaching him everything he needed to know in a fun, creative, yet educational way, I think it would be an unmitigated disaster.

I simply don’t have the imagination and I definitely don’t have the patience. I’d place bets on the fact that we would all either be shouting or crying within the first morning.

Jokes aside, I actually think that going to nursery and school has actually been the best thing for them.

Although I love spending time with them – and I genuinely do, now that they are slightly older, they’re actually really good company and they make me laugh in a way that no-one else does – I think it’s good for them to have time apart from me and my husband, Tom.

They make friends of their own, discover hobbies that we wouldn’t necessarily have suggested to them and learn how their place within a classroom of children their age.

They learn to interact and socialise with their teachers, adults who they view and respect in a different way that they view and (ahem) respect me and Tom.

Of course there are things I find hard about my children attending a traditional educational setting, like I’d imagine many parents do. I find the school days and term times restrictive. I wish that we could spend more time with them and I certainly wish that we could travel more as a family.

But by sending them to school, it means that by not being their teachers, we are free to be their parents. And to be honest, that job is difficult enough as it is – adding another dynamic to our relationship might actually break us all!  

The thing is, I bet Joe Wicks will absolutely ace home educating Indie – I mean, he became the PE teacher of the whole nation, I’m sure teaching one four-year-old in the basics of a few more subjects won’t prove too tricky for him.

And if it all goes horribly wrong? The Body Coach is lucky enough that he can just pay a tutor to come in and take over. He has already said that it might not be forever, that they’re just going to give it a go for a year and see how it pans out.  

But for me? I think I’d be given an ‘F’ for home educating. One of the life lessons I’ve learnt is crucial is recognising your own strengths and weaknesses and playing to them – so I’ll leave this one to the professionals.

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