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Is homeschooling healthy for children? Anxiety forces girl to quit classes

Seana-lee May is homeschooling her daughter Millie-Rae. (SWNS)
Seana-lee May is homeschooling her daughter Millie-Rae. (SWNS)

A mother has said that homeschooling is the best decision for her daughter after the pupil started refusing to go to class.

Seana-lee May, 30, took her daughter Millie-Rae, 11, out of school full-time in September after Millie-Rae faced anxiety and stopped going to class just five days into high school.

"Ever since she started school she had a period of kicking and screaming. She would refuse to go to school and she was falling behind," Seana-lee explains.

"When it came to high school she was so excited to go back to school but it lasted five days. She started kicking and screaming and refusing to go."

Seana-lee, from Merthyr Tydfil in Wales, adds that being a single parent can make it 'hard to juggle everything', but that Millie-Rae is 'thriving' with homeschooling.

"She struggles in a classroom environment, she needs someone to sit with her and explain things," she says.

"She is flourishing, she is performing so much better than she would be in a mainstream system. I am really happy with how she is doing. In every aspect of her life she is performing better, she is very confident. The home educator from the council will come out every six months to check on Millie-Rae and she is very happy with how she is doing."

Millie-Rae is 'thriving' with homeschooling. (Getty Images)
Millie-Rae is 'thriving' with homeschooling. (Getty Images)

According to the most recent figures, approximately 86,200 school children were homeschooled for at least one day in the past year.

"Anxiety can significantly impact a child's wellbeing, and homeschooling provides an alternative environment that can be more accommodating," Smriti Joshi, Chief Psychologist at Wysa, says.

"The one on one, more personalised nature of homeschooling allows for customised, paced learning experiences, creating a sense of security and comfort for the child. It's important to approach this decision with sensitivity, recognising the unique needs of the child and fostering an environment that supports their mental health."

Mental health benefits and implications of homeschooling

Some benefits of homeschooling include a flexible schedule, individualised learning experiences, and tailoring lessons to a child’s pace and interests.

"This personalised approach can boost self-esteem and light up a genuine passion for learning, positively impacting overall mental wellbeing," Joshi explains.

"Additionally, the absence of certain stressors related to peer dynamics in traditional schools can contribute to a more relaxed and supportive learning atmosphere, enhancing emotional resilience."

However, this absence of daily interactions with peers could also lead to challengers in the child’s social development, Joshi says.

Homeschooling can 'boost' self esteem. (Getty Images)
Homeschooling can 'boost' self esteem. (Getty Images)

"Because there's no classroom setting, or interaction with peers, a sense of healthy competition may not develop," she adds.

"To address this, intentional efforts are necessary to create social opportunities through extracurricular activities, community events, or participation in homeschooling groups."

How to know if homeschooling is the right choice

"Deciding if homeschooling is the right fit for your child involves a comprehensive assessment of various factors," Joshi explains.

She adds that parents should consider the child's learning style, personal preferences, and any existing mental health challenges.

"For instance, a child who thrives in a self-paced, independent learning environment and has a keen interest in specific subjects may find homeschooling to be a perfect match," she adds.

"If the child has experienced heightened anxiety or struggles with the social dynamics of traditional schooling, homeschooling could offer a more tailored and supportive educational experience.

homeschool
Up to 86,000 children were homeschooled for at least one day over the past year. (Getty Images)

"Open communication with the child is key—understand their feelings and concerns to make an informed decision that prioritises their mental health and overall development. The decision should reflect a thoughtful and holistic approach to education that aligns with the child's unique needs and strengths."

Additional reporting by SWNS.

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