PARENTS

Homeschooling: Why Nadia Sawalha's Daughters Have Been 'Out Of School' For A Year

18/01/2016 16:17 GMT | Updated 18/01/2016 16:59 GMT

Nadia Sawalha has opened up about homeschooling her daughters, calling it the "best thing" she's ever done.

The Loose Women presenter, who revealed she pulled her daughters Maddie, 13, and Kiki-Bee, eight, out of school one year ago, as they weren't "thriving".

"Deciding to home-educate the girls is the best thing I’ve ever done," Sawalha told The Mirror. "I never knew it existed. If I had, I would have done it years ago."

nadia sawalha

Nadia Sawalha has been homeschooling her daughters for a year

The 51-year-old initially sent her daughters to a fee-paying school in London, but now says she and husband Mark Adderley think it was a "big mistake".

Sawalha explained her youngest is partially sighted in one eye, so had to wear a patch for her first year, which made her feel anxious and that caused her to fall behind in her studies.

The mum-of-two said Maddie began to hate school and would cry about going every day. When she decided to homeschool her, Kiki-Bee asked if she could do the same.

Sawalha added: "Maddie and Kiki-Bee are really bright, creative and artistic, and they weren’t right for a prep school, which readies you for an academic life."

The mum-of-two admitted homeschooling can be hard, but she much prefers it to having someone else teach her children.

"I don’t want my children tested every day and left feeling stupid if they haven’t achieved a particular mark," she explained. "I don’t think that’s the way to learn.

"Now my daughters are loving it. They’ve been out of school for a year and I’m not planning to change that."

Mum-of-two and Young Adult author Keris Stainton, who homeschools her two sons - Harry, 11, and Joe, seven, fully agrees with Sawalha.

She told HuffPost UK Parents: "I think it's great. As Nadia says, she didn't know it was an option - I think that's still pretty common.

"The more people talking about it - and the more mainstream it becomes - the better."

Stainton decided to homeschool her eldest son after he'd been in school for four years, because she felt the curriculum was moving too fast.

"He'd be interested in something, wanting to explore it in more depth, and they'd already moved on," she explained.

"Originally I took him out for one day a week (I don't think you can do this anymore in most areas) and we both loved it so much that we decided to keep him home full-time.

"With our younger son, we never even considered sending him to school and we've never looked back."

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Stainton with her two sons

Stainton said she can relate to much of what Sawalha said about the differences between homeschooling and mainstream school.

She added: "I totally agree with Nadia on testing - there's much too much focus on testing and too little on the joy of learning.

"Also how her children are creative and artistic. I was stunned when my son's teacher told me the things he's good at aren't the kind of things school values: creativity and imagination. I think they're pretty important."

Stainton is aware many people have a negative view of homeschooling, but she believes the criticism comes from the fact it's different from the norm.

"I often get people saying 'Well school never did me any harm'," she said.

"But that's not the point. I'm not anti-school at all, home education just suits our family better. Like Nadia says, it's the best decision we've ever made.

"I mostly feel really lucky that I get to spend so much time with my boys."

SEE ALSO:

Why I Am Home Schooling My Child

Home-Education is About Learning, Not Schooling

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