In the town of Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, an 11-year-old girl named Millie-Rae has found solace and happiness in homeschooling. Her mother, Seana-lee, made the decision to educate her daughter at home in September, citing concerns about the lack of work provided by the school during the pandemic. However, when Millie-Rae returned to school for a brief period, she struggled with anxiety and fell behind academically. Recognizing her daughter’s needs, Seana-lee decided to homeschool her permanently.
Millie-Rae’s difficulties in the school environment were exacerbated when she started secondary school and lasted only five days before refusing to go back. She experienced a decline in confidence, became withdrawn from her friends, and felt increasingly stressed. Her mother noticed a significant change in her behavior, leading her to believe that school was not the right fit for Millie-Rae. Furthermore, Millie-Rae’s recent referral for ADHD investigations highlighted her struggle to concentrate in a large, loud classroom.
Seana-lee acknowledged that homeschooling Millie-Rae was not without its challenges, especially since her family was initially against the idea. However, she persevered, recognizing the positive impact it had on her daughter. Millie-Rae’s confidence has improved, and she feels happier and more in control of her mental health and anxiety. While she misses seeing her friends regularly, she maintains social interaction by attending a weekly drama group.
The number of children being homeschooled in Wales has been steadily increasing, reaching a record high of 5,330. This figure has more than doubled in the past five years, and there were fewer than 900 homeschooled children a decade ago. The rise can be attributed to various factors, including the impact of the pandemic, mental health issues, social anxiety, and dissatisfaction with the traditional schooling system. Many parents have realized that they have the ability to educate their children themselves and have opted for homeschooling as a result.
While the Welsh government recognizes parents’ right to homeschool their children, they believe that, in most cases, attending school is the best option. However, they have collaborated with local authorities to ensure that appropriate educational provisions are available for homeschooled children. The government’s home educator’s handbook offers guidance and support to parents and carers who have chosen to educate their children at home.
In conclusion, homeschooling has provided Millie-Rae with a safe and supportive learning environment that suits her individual needs. Despite the initial challenges, she has thrived academically and emotionally. The increasing number of homeschooled children in Wales reflects a growing trend of parents seeking alternatives to traditional schooling, driven by various factors such as mental health concerns and dissatisfaction with the system.