Amber Warning, November 18, 2014: Why home-schooling has worked for me

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This year I became a columnist for the Lynn News, I opened my own online shop, I won an award for digital talent (which you may have seen reported in last Friday’s Lynn News) and I’ve been invited to numerous events that most people only ever dream of getting to attend.

I’ve only just turned 16, so why have I been able to do all of this?

Well, I have lots of time to put into my own projects, and I’m dedicated. I can spontaneously travel to an event on a Tuesday afternoon and I can stay up late working on my column whilst not having to worry if it’s a school day tomorrow.

If you hadn’t guessed already, I’m home-schooled, and it’s done wonders for me.

Like a lot of kids, I was bullied in primary school. It got so bad that I started to desperately not want to go to school, and eventually I left.

I was eight.

After that, I learned whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, and we would regularly go to friends’ houses, museums, theme parks, meet-ups with other local home educators, and there were other educational days out, too.

I’d always been extremely shy but, as soon as I left school, I came out of my shell.

A lot of people don’t think it’s a good idea for a child to learn “whatever they want, whenever they want” but it’s amazing what a child will do and achieve when left to their own devices.

Members of my family and other people we knew were sceptical and didn’t agree with the idea of home-schooling at all, but they soon saw how much of a good effect it was having on me. My first tip if you’re considering homeschooling is that you should try to ignore other peoples’ negative opinions of it.

Many people don’t truly know what it’s about, and as long as you’re happy, healthy and thriving, that’s all that matters.

When I reached secondary school age, I attended my local high school, and it was great.

Sometimes I missed being home-schooled, but I also liked the new school environment.

Due to health reasons I had to leave at the beginning of 2013 to be homeschooled again but, like with most things, there was a silver lining – I was, and still am, able to dedicate more time to the things I’m passionate about, like this column.

I can guarantee that if I was still attending mainstream school, I wouldn’t have achieved half of the things I have done in my life, and I definitely wouldn’t be writing this column.

I wouldn’t have started my online shop, either, and I certainly wouldn’t have won that Future8 award last week.

My second piece of advice for you, if you’re considering home-schooling, is to agree on your own trial period.

When I first became homeschooled, I remember agreeing with my Mum that we would stick with it for six months, and if I didn’t like it then I would go back to school. I ended up loving it, but not everyone does, and it’s important to remember that you always have the option to go back.

Both schools I’ve left said their doors would always be open for me should I ever want to go back.

School can definitely be a springboard for some kids, but it can also hold others back – all kids are different, after all.

We all learn in different ways and school isn’t always the right fit. Neither is homeschooling, but it has been brilliant for me.