There seems to be an abundance of information out there about Home Education, but that can mean it is an overwhelming decision. Plus, lot’s of the information is incorrect. Here at Educational Freedom we try to have everything you could ever need to know all in one place. Coming up for 10 years old our website and organisation is one of the most respected and referred to sites, we regularly update it and add new content so do keep checking back. We also have our Facebook group with around 13k members, you can chat and see how others Home Educate, plus get advice from those with experience.
This blog post is going to try and condense the whole website into one short post. So, let’s start at the beginning.
You do not need a reason to Home Educate, some choose it because it’s fun, it means more family time, others choose it because the child and school were not a good match, for others it’s because SEN are not met and for some because of unresolved bullying. But you don’t need a reason. You can just do it!
You MUST follow the deregistration/withdrawal process laid out in law for your type of school and country within the UK. As special schools and Scotland have different processes to England and Wales. If your child is not registered in school then you are do not inform anyone of your decision (unless someone from the LA enquires about how the child is educated. )
A big mistake many people make is misunderstanding what Home Education is. It’s easier to tell you what it isn’t. It isn’t home school. You do not have to do formal work, sit to the table to learn, have a curriculum, lessons, or a timetable (though a small number do as it’s right for the child). You do not have to be a teacher (in fact teachers often struggle the most as they know school type learning isn’t suitable but they struggle to let go).
Home Education can be whatever you want it to be; completely child-led or fully structured, or somewhere in-between. Read more about Home Ed styles here.
It is vital to take time to deschool yourself and the child. Time to realise learning happens outside of formal learning. A chance for the child to find out how they learn best, time to adjust to the freedom of being able to eat when hungry, go to the toilet without permission, the chance to realise learning is fun and can happen at any time. A bit of brutal honesty here, the reason Home Ed goes wrong for some families is because they tried creating school at home on day one, giving the child no time to find their own way, within a couple of months the kid refuses to get out of bed, refuses to engage with the parent who is now trying to be teacher instead of parents. We have seen near ruin of family relationships and many kids back in school because they didn’t deschool. Or didn’t deschool for long enough. Oh, and don’t fall into the trap of buying anything for the first few weeks at least, we promise you, most of it will not be used. And remember never to use the term deschooling with the LA as they unfortunately do not understand it.
Talking about the LA, let’s make it clear, there is no-one to tell you how to do it, it’s up to you how it works and you are responsible for the financial cost. The LA are not there to provide support, but there’s lots of support from within the Home Education community.
There is no right and wrong way as long as you are ensuring your child receives an education suitable to their age, ability and aptitude; as well as catering for any special needs. Our styles section helps explain this more.
Lots of families spend months or even years trying to research Home Ed, but once they start they realise that it’s nothing like they imagined, no amount of planning will prepare you for the reality, but knowing the factual stuff will help make it easier. Your child will deschool differently to what you expect, they’ll want to learn in different ways, they’ll amaze you. So don’t take too long thinking it over.
‘I wish we had done it sooner’
‘I wish we hadn’t bothered trying school.’
The best thing to do is to give all of our website a good read first. We are sad we have to say this, but do not take your Local Authority information (on their website, on paper or in person) as being correct. Unfortunately many LAs still claim Home Education is neglectful, socially isolates the child, or they make claims that the education has to be structured etc. Read our website, and the EHE guidance yourself, so you know what information is accurate.
Talk to others in a similar position by joining our Facebook group and your local Facebook group to find out about local events.
There is a government consultation about proposed new EHE (England) guidance. We will be producing a guide ASAP to help you respond, so no need to rush in.
For now, have a read, BUT DO NOT PANIC ABOUT THE PROPOSED CHANGES: