How Home Ed Has Made Me The Person I Am Now
by Finlay Worrallo
Six months ago, the rain and wind washed a family of ducklings into a drain and trapped them. Their mother couldn’t rescue them and they had no chance. Luckily, my mother could rescue them—with the aid of a fishing net and a hessian bag. Unfortunately, the mother duck had vanished, so the ducklings simply came back to our house to live. After recovering from their traumatic experience, they spent the next month or so in a dog pen in the garden, swimming in a washing-up bowl full of weedy water and making peep-peep noises.
That incident sums up home education for me—not only because a schooled child doesn’t get to study in the garden with ducklings, but also because of how it represented being raised in a completely different way to the majority. I daresay our ducklings’ lives would have looked extremely odd to ducklings who grew up on the river, but they survived and were perfectly healthy ducks by the time they moved to a nearby pond. Home education isn’t quite like being washed into a drain and then swimming in a washing-up bowl, but it’s certainly unconventional and certainly works.
First and foremost, it’s allowed me to find my own identity through trial and error. For example, four years ago, I loved wearing a cricket jumper the whole time, and for several years before that, my hair was so long people mistook me for a girl. I’d probably have been mercilessly teased for this at school, but as it was I simply grew out of it and discovered the joys of cardigans!
Another thing I love about home education is that you don’t have to fit into a huge education system that does the same thing for everyone—it’s all about what’s best for you and you alone. I haven’t wasted years studying subjects I hate; I’ve focused on the ones which I need and want, instead of just collecting GCSEs pointlessly. This last term, I’ve only studied three subjects (English Literature, Spanish, and German), but I’m passionate about languages and reading, and I want to be a polyglot and published writer one day, so each of these subjects will help me fly.
But the best thing about home education for me has been the deep relationships I’ve forged with my family. In a world with far too many family feuds and estranged siblings, it comforts me that mine will still be at my side until death. We’ve been nothing short of a team during the decade or so we’ve home educated. We’ve been on countless trips into London, visited stately homes, national monuments, the Globe Theatre, and many more. We’ve completed projects together, learned different subjects, and conducted scientific experiments. We’ve read books and poetry and fallen in love with the English language. We’ve gone out sledging on snowy days instead of studying; we’ve gone walking in the countryside through sun and rain; and we once cycled twenty-two miles in a day for an animal charity. Even something as boring as moving to new house was quicker and easier because we didn’t have to find new schools for us children.
I don’t know what school could have done for me, but I can’t imagine having a more stable home, a happier childhood, a stronger family, a better outlook on life, or more plans for the future.