I have mostly negative reactions to the fact that my oldest child (DD 4.5) has not started reception this year. I think its because I work part-time too and people are concerned that I would be able to invest more time in my work if she was in school.
I have been thinking about it and although you do have to organise more things with HE, people don't take into consideration how much time is spent with school-going children after school doing homework, the school run (morning and afternoon), what other extras you might want to be involved in as an active parent (parent governor's board, helping with organising school events, hanging around school chatting with people etc etc). Not to mention that you would still want to do many of the things that we as HE-ers do, during the weekends or as family time: swimming, museums, instrument lessons (or whatever).
I have been wondering whether HE really does always take more time than school, or whether it just takes 'different' time. Any thoughts or am I just kidding myself?!
People who use schools get, what, six hours or something a day of free-at-point-of-delivery child care. Without question, opting out of school means that you lose those six hours of tax-funded child care.
For my family, that opt out is worth it - but school using families do have those 36 hours a week when both parents can perfectly well be working, at the same time. And, as of course we know <insert sarcastic voice> having a family unit with two wage slaves in it is the most important thing in the world <end of sarcastic voice>.
I think you are kidding yourself just a little bit because you do a lot of those schooly things in a home ed form, if that makes sense, just without any of the free time you get from having someone else look after them for part of the day.
For instance, I (and most of the people I know) are pretty involved in our home ed group in the way you would be a PTA. We spend lots of time running around the country to things in the car, usually further than when they are at school because things are further away.
I work part time as well which I think is partly what makes my life so manic. I can go weeks with hardly an hour to myself. It's crazy. I'm only on here tonight instead of doing a mad 100 mile round trip ballet run because DD1 has stayed up there sleeping over at a friend's house. It's the little things, for example I took DD2 to watch a play last night for her upcoming English Lit GCSE. It was lovely, but it was a longish drive and took up the complete evening - we weren't back until midnight. If she'd been in school they'd have done that as a school trip and I'd have been at home in bed on mumsnet.
I wouldn't change my home ed life for the world. But I definitely have way less time than when they were in school, no comparison. You may not notice the difference quite so much with a younger one, maybe.
I can't really comment on whether there is a difference as we never darkened the door of a school till the day dd sat her first GCSE as an external candidate Hwr, in 12 years of home ed I've always worked, and somehow we've always managed. I admit in that time I probably shifted my mindset from 'career' to 'job'. But it WAS a fairly demanding job, which involved significant commuting. I worked 20 hours compressed into 2 days, so on my working days I was usually away from home for about 14 hours and was totally knackered. We had one day of paid childcare and her dad covered my other working day with flexi (so he also worked long hours on his working days). But, notwithstanding the horrors of doing A levels as a private candidate it's been an amazing experience that I (mostly!) feel very privileged to have had. At this stage you don't have to make a forever decision - you can suck it and see - schools will always be there. I know lots of home ed families who make it work with working parents, businesses etc, so it can be done .
Thanks everyone. ommmward, I think you're probably right. I would probably spend a fair few of those hours on cleaning and random crap though, whereas I just have a messy house (which makes me stressed but I'm getting used to it!) musicposy, we don't travel too far to anything because DS (2.5) hates the car and I don't have much patience for long journeys by public transport with 4.5 and 2.5 yo in tow. I've made a 30 minute one-way limit on our activities while they are so young. Working part-time does feel like it makes life crazy but I really don't think that I could be at home the full week. And we also need me to work. But mostly I need me to work! It helps to keep me engaged with a life that is not tied to the kids, which is important for me. MadOldFeminist, what do you mean re: change from career to job? I'm definitely not on some crazy career path, but I do want opportunities to develop myself and my role... Do you feel that you have missed out on that?