One question that comes up time and time again is how do home educators afford to home educate, in fact, many who do wish to become home educators, end up giving up the dream to home educate and end up leaving their very unhappy child in the mainstream system full of guilt and anger at the system damaging their child, all due to not being able to find a way to mix work and home educating.
In this time of tight control by the Government of trying to make sure people are lifted out of poverty with sanctions thrown out left, right and centre, with no thought for the family unit mental health or individual situation prescribed by their one size fits all approach.
If you are not working then you will be stung with their arbitrary regime of punishing you if you are not looking for, or in any work, the single parent is no exception to the rule and are subject to sanctions pushing you further into poverty if you do not comply.
Forget the worry of childcare and inadequate schooling and being forced to leave your child with a stranger in a world full of abusers and other daily struggles of doing a two person's job by yourself as a single parent, none of that matters, what does matter is that you are earning money for the economy to put into someone else's pocket with forced spending in the way of childcare, petrol or travel money and work uniforms, so that you end up skint anyway, but the Government can at least make sure your inadequate parenting skills are away from your child and the child is with a more competent government surrogate parent, aka school, that is until it all goes wrong and you get the blame anyway, particularly when the child fails their SATS and the child is stressed and depressed due to the amount of useless work the surrogate parent, has put on the child, to prove the surrogate is spending the money they are given by government wisely.....but that is a different story for another time.
Many home educating parents live in a two parent household, they juggle life between them, working to maintain the lifestyle and caring for the kids and overseeing the child's education, this is often together or on shifts, some are lucky to have helpful families and friends who support and facilitate in the children's education, some are doing the job alone.
I am one of those doing the job alone, and many home educating parents employment comes in the form of self employment.
There are lots of enterprising people out there who manage to get by using their imagination and a lot of hard work, mostly unsupported by this government.. There are a lot of people who survive on the little they earn through self employment, all be it supported by working Tax Credits, but no support to help them maintain and grow their small business, this is mainly due to the fact they are classed as lifestyle business and not a start-up or growth business, they are not taken seriously and do not garner the same support.
Which I find ironic and if you talk to many of those lifestyle business they will tell you their ambitions of growing their business and many actually do, and in adition they are learning, they do their accounts, advertising, sales, product research and development and they are paying the bills they need to pay to maintain their preferred lifestyle, they are building on their expertise to become rounded business people and more employable in the future, they are doing something for their hard earned working tax credits and small earning.
They lead simple life's, spending on necessities and keeping their meagre business afloat to enable them to keep home educating. so why then do the Government punish these people by removing their working tax credits or more increasingly denying universal credits due to them not earning enough.
Home educating single parents are certainly working hard enough, so why force them to go onto Jobseekers to sit for 40 hours a week and look for a job they have no interest in and probably something that is brain dead work that will sap the life out of them.
Self-employment for a home educator is not an easy feat but is kept up with gusto to do what is right for their child and families to give them all a better future.
Sure there are easy ways, shove the kid in school and only have a limited input into their child's education and welfare, but some of us think that the yearly foreign holiday and posh car is not worth the sacrifice, so a simple financial life and lots of juggling financial choices is an alternative viable choice to make for many of us.
One thing this Government and a lot of people in the public sphere do is underestimate the dynamic spirit of the single parent.
Single parents have had a bad wrap for a long time, instead of being lauded for getting through a difficult time juggling childcare, family and everyday life, alone, they are subject to harsh criticism which has in the past attracted comments like lazy, bad for kids, irresponsible, not fit for the job, a scourge on society, that again is subject to another story, but these inspirational single parents work hard, they work very hard, far from being lazy and a scourge, they are educating the next generation encouraging a life long learner and in comparison to schools are doing a very good job.
The number of kids suffering depression and stress caused by the school system is increasing in rapid numbers, more test pressures put on teachers, and more and more of the human element seems to be missing from the educational institution, causing a generation of kids to be lost, more pressure but still more failure is screaming into your face that something is not working. But no, they continue on their course to pile on the pressure and even worse results.
Our local school demonstrated their failure by a whole year failing to gain even a grade c read (here), Oldham itself has been nominated the acclaimed title of being the third worst place in the country for failing schools (read here).
For those taking a stand and want better and different for their kids, these people should be supported and encouraged instead of demonised and punished.
Self employed home educators are dynamic and they are doing something about the dire education situation and taking matters into their own hands, because this Government is clearly incapable of sorting out the dire educational situation, other than further monetising it to earn as much profit out of it as possible, while ignoring the collateral damage being done to the children they are supposed to be educating.
The law states 'children must be educated in school or otherwise' and as long as parents are prepared to take the education into their own hands, this should be supported, and those self employed people working hard to ensure their kids get the education they deserve, should not be punished and penalised for picking up the slack on a failing education system.
The irony is that each school place costs the government on average for all authorities across England is £4,550.54 per-pupil, so those that are self employed and home educating are already saving the government this amount of money, in my case x2 as home educating is not funded by the government in any way, educational supplies and exams are funded solely by the home educating family.
Looking at a way to re-distribute that money that is saved by Governments though parents home educating rather than punishing self employed home educators, may be a better way to go than punishments of sanctions and forced brain dead employment..