After Krishna Shiatis’ three children saw success in their A Levels and GCSEs, with her two boys getting some qualifications far earlier than most, Josh Barrie finds out more about the home education that has helped them achieve.
Mrs Shiatis, from Orpington, decided to home educate Vifshal, 16, Rohan, 14, and Kiran, 10, about three years ago after she and her husband found a school environment "wasn’t working."
She admits her three kids are bright, which impacted the decision, but believes they’re still normal students and it’s actually the "bespoke schooling" they’ve received that has been the predominant factor.
"We can cover things much more quickly at home – I tailor classes to suit my children, it depends on what they need," Mrs Shiatis explained.
"I think home schooling offers something extra. It keeps our options open and it’s more flexible. But we do make sure we follow the national curriculum overall".
Mrs Shiatis believes the way she does things is often misunderstood. She feels many think it hinders young peoples’ social lives, but said today that’s simply not the case.
She told News Shopper: "I think people think home education is just a closed house, where pupils just sit at home and don’t interact with others. Actually it can be very engaging – we plan our days. If we want to visit a museum, or even go to Paris, we can.
"Today there are a lot of home education groups and we meet up with others in the same situation. I make sure my children have good social lives and do plenty of activities. They have normal lives – that’s very important."
Earlier this month Rohan attained an A* in his maths A Level and also managed to get some GCSEs subjects completed, while Kiran secured 97 per cent in his maths GCSE. Vifshal's results read seven A*s and two As in her A Levels this year.
Despite the brilliant grades, Mrs Shiatis stressed her three kids "aren’t anything special" and said the education is key.
She said: "They aren’t geniuses. I think it’s how we teach them – I think some traditional methods are lost in school these days. But it’s not about being at school or at home, it’s the way we educate our children. It’s clear smaller class sizes make a difference – at home, obviously, they’re much smaller."
Mrs Shiatis also champions the belief parents should have more responsibility for their children's learning, whether in a formal environment or not.
She said in the old days it was always parents who passed on knowledge to their young ones and that process has been lost in modern times.
She did concede not everyone has the time, or perhaps ability, to offer something rounded and beneficial, but added whatever the case may be parents have a vital role to play.
"Education needs to be in school and at home," Mrs Shiatis said. "It’s about building a partnership with teachers. That’s when you see positive results.
Mrs Shiatis also mentioned when she and her husband took the decision they didn’t fully know what to expect and it was a "leap of faith".
Ultimately, Mrs Shiatis said, school "didn't work for her children". Home education has.