Interview with Emma Millward

Emma MillwardAge: 29
Ages of Children: 4, 6
and 9 years
Location: London, England

Why and when did you decide to homeschool your children?

I decided to homeschool about 18months ago, however it took several months of research and then trusting my decision to actually take our eldest son out of school.  I could see that he wasn’t as happy as he could be, I felt like the life was being drained from him and I really wasn’t happy with what he was being exposed to; both from his peers and the national curriculum. In my opinion children are forced to grow up much too soon these days and most things he was being taught; I felt were completely unnecessary. There is so much pressure! I also felt I was losing control of how my children were being shaped and of the adults they would become because of this.  It felt like a very negative and superficial environment and went against everything we were trying to instill into our children. The more I looked into home schooling I realized it was the right thing to do for us as a family. We took Jayden out of school 10months ago and after we adjusted, we then took our daughter Kyla out- who was in the first year of school and we really haven’t looked back on our decision! Our youngest son, Tarell would have been starting school this September but of course we declined his place and he is excited to be home schooled with his brother and sister.

What’s your proudest homeschool moment?

There have been many proud moments but probably one of the first that made me burst with pride was having friends and family telling me how much of a change they could see in Jayden after taking him out of school. They saw him smiling so much more, he was a lot more talkative and affectionate and much less grumpy (thank goodness)  I had seen a difference after a few days but to have others tell me they could see what I could see just two weeks later; was an amazing feeling. I knew I had done the right thing and a lot of initial worries subsided at that point.

How has homeschooling changed you?

Homeschooling coincided with a time when I was going through a lot of spiritual growth personally and that was really what gave me the push to trust in myself and see that everything at that moment was pointing towards homeschooling. Because of the combination of the two; my parenting style has changed, I am not as strict as I once was, and our communication as a family has improved a lot. I’m seeing things with a new perspective and it has been so liberating. My children have amazed me with their questions and because of them I have also learned so much already. I am embarrassed to say that at times in the past I could be lazy with answering all of their questions as fully as I could have done, but knowing that I am responsible for their education and seeing that we are all thriving so much as a family; I love nothing more than getting to the bottom of their questions with them, even when I am completely floored at how they have come up with some of them – I’m sure I wasn’t quite as inquisitive as they are at their ages. Thank goodness for the Internet!

 Who do you turn to when you need homeschooling advice? Why?

I am very fortunate to have met some amazing friends since embarking on this journey.  They have been invaluable and are always on hand with advice and ideas.   I have learnt so much from them and I am very grateful for that.  Social media has also been integral for me.  When I first started home educating it felt like a secret underworld that I never knew existed. There are thousands and thousands of people out there with so much information to share all over the world! How amazing that we can come together with ideas of experiments, games, places to visit, resources, discounts, and of course be on hand with reassurance and advice.  I feel very lucky and proud that I am apart of such a great network.  Because of this, I am never short of advice when I need it and am so happy to be there for others if/when they need my advice.

What was your biggest misconception about homeschooling prior to becoming a home educator?

Socialization! I was guilty of thinking that the children that were home educated didn’t mix with other children that much and thought that they would be missing out if they weren’t at school.  How wrong was I?! That couldn’t be further from the truth.  There is such a huge community and we meet up for days out, “school trips”, workshops and clubs regularly with lots of other home ed’ families.  I’ve realized that not only are homeschooled children socializing, but they are doing so in the “real world” with different aged people from all different walks of life and different places.  In my opinion that’s much better for their social skills than forced socialization in school, who are with the same group of children, of the same age for years. I’m very passionate about this now and really try to normalize home schooling in the UK especially, as it is still very taboo here and looked at as weird for the most part. People picture children sat at home all day without seeing other children. That’s really not the case.

What’s your goal as a home educator?

For my children to have a childhood that they deserve! One that is spent outdoors having adventures – exploring the world around them.  For them to be completely free to be themselves and pursue anything and everything that interests them. Above all I want them to be happy.  I think home educating them is the best way for us to achieve that.

Emma Millward 1

How can we connect with you?

Instagram: @our_home_ed_journey

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