6 "Musts when Leaving the School System
Before you de-register you have all these fears (and maybe even after). Yet most of the common myths/criticisms of home education don't really come up at all (except when others say them to you). Most of them will seem silly in 12 months.
1) Keep it in writing. (always get a receipt)
Email is great and all that but some schools can be downright unpleasant about families leaving their school. An actual letter and handing it in (which is quite exciting actually) and getting a receipt proves that your child is de-registered and they they received the letter on a certain date. Some schools are not above lying, harassing and making outlandish claims. Now to be "objective" some might simply not know the law. Once you de-register you have no legal requirement to answer their calls, and it they doorstep you they are breaking the law. It is their job to remove your child from their register on the date they receive the letter. It is their job to tell the LA (Local Authority). They will lose thousands of pounds in funding when this happens. So if you are wondering why they "suddenly" want a meeting, you hit them where it hurts, in their funding. It is wise to keep things in writing with the LA as well. This is because they also lose funding when a child leaves the school system. Some can be lovely, however that doesn't make them not have targets (to re-school) or have NO UNDERSTANDING of non-school education at all. You can fill in their forms if you wish, but you do not have to. This leads me tidily to the next point.
2) Read up on the laws, rules and regulations about Home Education.
Most Facebook groups and a certainly lots of other groups have a bunch of files and are always updating them. It is not uncommon for school who in turn might try and get social services and people at the LA to lie, bend the truth and assume you don't know your rights. This is not something that happen often but it can happen. Knowing they can't doorstep you, knowing they can't "make" your child go back into school and reading up on your rights means they are more wary of when you politely inform them of the law.
School is one in a thousand education models. From unschooling to Montessori, Charlotte Mason and Project based personal curriculum's, knowing that you don't have to follow a curriculum set by someone who isn't even an education expert is liberating. Knowing that there isn't one "correct" way to educate any child will give you confidence. Even if you decide to do school at home, you may find you like some of the ideas or techniques that other methods have. This gives you something to do while you are doing the next important step.
4) De-schooling (no really).
De-schooling isn't just about the child decompressing from what was likely a different and traumatic experience (just because it is common doesn't make it any less traumatic). De-schooling primarily about the parents adjusting. It is about reconnecting with your child. It is about educating your self in what learning looks like (how did it look before school?) as well as letting go of that anxiety, pressure and "should". You know, "your child should be____". Should be holding a pen, should be not shy, should be able to do___. De-schooling is like cult de-programming. One morning you sort of wake up and realise that you don't want you kid to be X, in fact you could never be Y either. So you take what you have, your beautiful child and value them. Not when they can be something else, but right now. You can figure out everything else from there.
5) Join your local home education groups
It's not just having other families that can support you, and that you can support, it knowing you are not alone. They will be cliques and internal groups. It won't be perfect. Just knowing you can, even if you don't want to is really useful. They can organise trips and events and organise another avenue for you to kid to play with other kids.
6) Play more.
I don't mean just let your kids play (especially outside) I mean you. Play is powerful, educational and good for your body mind and soul. Don't just sit on the bench, at least not all the time. Get your face painted. Swing on the swings. Get your face out of your phone. Go on adventures, you can start small. Sing more songs, no matter how badly. Play dress up, drink imaginary tea. Turn the sofa into a battle ship. Build pillow forts.
Home education is far too important to take seriously.