Ulrika Jonsson defends Joe Wicks’s decision to homeschool five-year-old daughter

Ulrika Jonsson has defended celebrity fitness coach Joe Wicks for deciding to pull his daughter Indie, five, out of school.

Wicks, who is best known for becoming “the nation’s PE teacher” in the Covid-19 lockdowns, told his Instagram followers in July that he was taking his five-year-old daughter Indie out of school to “spend more time” as a family.

In a recent interview with The Times, Wicks defended his decision after facing some criticism from fans, who called the move “wrong” or “selfish”.

“It’s not like I’m saying, I’m going to homeschool my kids and go and live on a farm in the middle of nowhere. It’s really just about our lifestyle [now],” he said.

Wicks added that the decision to take Indie out of her reception class was not permanent. Instead, the 37-year-old said he wants to have “another year” with his family and make the most of their time together.

Model and TV presenter Jonsson has defended Wicks’s decision and said how “heartwarming” it was to hear him talking about providing stability for his children.

Writing in her column in The Sun, she confessed that she had initially had some scepticism surrounding the subject of homeschooling because it is a “really big ask” for parents. However, she went on to support Wicks and pointed out that in some European countries, children don’t start school until they are six or seven.

“He’s only keeping his daughter at home for a year because he just wants a bit more time with her,” she wrote.

“Our kids are so young when we pack them off to school in this country – just past their fourth birthday. Whereas on the ­Continent, school doesn’t start until seven in some countries,” she added.

“It’s heartwarming to hear him talk about ­providing stability and love for his kids and he needs them to know he will always be there for them.”

Speaking to The Times, Wicks said he didn’t want to be absent from his children’s lives.

“What I try and give my children is stability and love, and I want them to know I’m always there for them.”

Announcing the decision back in July, Wicks told his followers that Indie had a “great year” in reception – the initial year of primary school – but that he and his wife Rosie “have always loved teaching the kids at home and want the freedom to travel more and explore the world”.

Recently, they have travelled to Australia and Singapore as a family and also spent time at their second home in Santa Monica, California.

In the UK, most children start full-time school in the September after their fourth birthday, meaning they turn five during their first school year. Meanwhile, in other places, like Sweden or Australia, children start school a year later, aged six.