'It's an extension of parenting' - The rise of homeschooling

There has been an almost 30% increase in the number of families opting for homeschooling
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.07 6 Sep 2022

Share this article

'It's an extension of parentin...

'It's an extension of parenting' - The rise of homeschooling

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.07 6 Sep 2022

Share this article

One mother has said she sees schooling her children as an extension of parenting.

Catherine Monaghan was speaking as recent Tusla figures show there has been an almost 30% increase in the number of families opting for homeschooling over the past four years.

Some parents say it allows their children to thrive, others say it can be negative for children socially.


Reporter Josh Crosbie met with some of these families for The Pat Kenny Show.

Catherine is a volunteer with the Home Education Network, and her 17-year-old son has always been homeschooled.

She said: "I suppose I see it just as an extension of parenting, really.

"I don't see myself as always sitting down teaching him - I'm facilitating him, providing whatever he needs and helping him along the way, helping him find what he needs."

A 'Back To School' theme showing school stationary and snacks

She said the pandemic really saw a big increase in the practice.

"We had families who took their kids out of school because they're worried about health.

"Then you had families who had their children at home during school lockdowns, and realised they were actually learning well and that they were maybe less stressed or less anxious.

"Then you had other parents who had maybe been contemplating home education - and their hand was kind of forced by school closures, and they decided to keep going with it".

'It's an extension of parenting' - The rise of homeschooling

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Catherine's son Theo is about to start college.

Having been homeschooled his entire life, he said: "I think it was far better than what my experience would have been in school, in my opinion anyway.

"I enjoyed [that] there was a certain amount of routine, but it wasn't so enforced.

"I could eat whenever I wanted, I didn't have to ask to go to the bathroom or anything.

"It's relaxed but not so relaxed as most people would think".

Asked if he wondered what he was missing out on, Theo said: "I always sort of wondered what it was like, but I've always enjoyed homeschooling.

"I kind of wouldn't really have wanted to change - it's what I was accustomed to, I guess.

"It would have been better for me than all the sort of structure, and I've always just been kind of grateful".

'Just let them at it'

Anna is a mother of three children, who've been homeschooled since the first lockdown.

She said: "I think when the schools shut and we were trying out the virtual homeschooling, I found the kids were not really up for that.

"The school was so supportive and everything, but they just wanted to do their own thing.

"And I just said to my husband 'Oh my gosh, I really think if we just let them take the lead I think they'll actually just amaze us'.

"They're little geniuses - just let them at it.

"So then we thought we'd take the plunge then that September, so when the schools re-opened we didn't go back".

Anna said the experience has been 'really great and eye-opening'.

"I'm an educator myself, I've done a degree in early year studies, a pre-school teacher.

"So I always believe that play is the best way for children to learn, for children to experiment and learn themselves".

'Further causing isolation'

While family psychotherapist Richard Hogan said such a move can actually stunt children.

"A lot of the times my experience would be people decide to get homeschooled, or they want to be homeschooled, because of maybe an issue in school.

"They might find it difficult to socially interact with their peers, and so you take that pressure off them.

"But then you get caught into a little positive feedback loop.

"They might have a fear that they're not able to manage themselves in relation to crowds - and then if you pull them out of crowds, it's going to further exacerbate that feeling that they haven't got the confidence to manage crowds.

"You're further causing isolation and so I'd always say to parents: avoid avoiding at all costs.

"That's the big downfall of homeschooling... the lack of connection, the shrinking down of a social network, the inability to connect with people".

'It's an extension of parenting' - The rise of homeschooling

00:00:00 / 00:00:00
Main image: Catherine Monaghan. Picture by: Josh Crosbie

Share this article

Read more about

Catherine Monaghan Home Education Network Homeschooling Josh Crosbie Richard Hogan Schooling The Pat Kenny Show Tusla Virtual Homeschooling

Most Popular