There are lots of reasons people do not agree to Home Education and lots of reasons they believe it is a bad idea. Many do not understand what Home Education is, all we ask is a little bit of your time to read this article and hopefully we can explain many of the misconceptions as well as explain some of the many benefits.
There are so many reasons Home Education can be amazing.
Home Education is tailored to each child, it is a style and method that suits them, it evolves with them.
Provides opportunities for the child to learn what interests them, in as much detail as they want.
Learning can happen at any time of the day (and often night).
No path is closed to a Home Ed kid, they can sit GCSEs (at any age, or not at all), go to college (from 14), go to university, do an apprenticeship, work.
Home Ed kids can make lasting friendships with people they have chosen to spend time with.
They can travel, have days out and meet friends when places are quieter, therefore a better experience.
Home Ed kids tend to have a better understanding of life as a whole, they’re involved in day to day life, they see more, and experience more. They meet a wider variety of people.
They are allowed to stay children longer, little to no peer pressure to grow up and ditch the toys until they are ready.
They are less likely to be bullied.
Their SEN and disabilities will be supported (they can still access all the same services as a schooled child). And less likely to have mental health issues.
They can spend more time with family.
If the child is registered in school you need to deregister (withdraw if in Scotland) using the correct process as detailed HERE
In an England/Wales mainstream school you do not need to seek permission or give advance notice. You can start Home Educating on a random Wednesday having emailed school that morning.
Only one parent is required to send the deregistration.
If your child has never attended school then you do not need to deregister and there is no requirement to inform the Local Authority (LA).
Though the other parent can seek further action should they not agree to your decision to Home Educate, they can not stop the deregistration if the primary parent has actioned it.
If a family deregister or become known to the LA their job is not to monitor, it is to identify children missing from education, once they know the family Home Educate and have provided a little info about the provision the LA then make contact usually on an annual basis.
The LA do not have funds, training or the inclination to provide support or advice. If the Home Educator needs information or support or ideas etc. they will need to ask other Home Educators and organisations like ours.
To provide info to the EHE team we suggest doing it in writing using our guide to writing a report, We advise against meetings/visits and phone calls, this is because some LAs behave really badly. They unfortunately lie, claim laws and duties that don’t exist and harass families, keeping things in writing means there is a paper trail and evidence.
Ultimately it is the parent(s) responsibility to ensure the education is suitable.
We ask you consider 2 questions.
What is the child likely to achieve in school (academically and mentally)?
And, why do you think Home Education is not a good idea? Please keep reading so we can help answer these.
If you are thinking about ‘reporting’ someone for Home Educating, please consider what you want to gain from this? The LA will make enquiries, to which the parent will respond with info about the provision, the LA will not expect nor demand the family follow any particular style, they can not force the child into school without very good reason to believe the education is not suitable.
If you have concerns about the provision then maybe ask more about why the parent is taking the approach they are, ask if you can get involved and how, please don’t try teaching the child or quizzing the child without checking with the parent how best you can add to the educational provision.
Think about why the child is being Home Educated, was it because they were bullied? It isn’t normal or acceptable, it doesn’t build character, what being bullied does is break the young person, they learn not to trust people, they hate themselves, they harm themselves. If the parent(s) have decided to Home Educate because of bullying it would be a really good opportunity for you to support them, to provide caring and trusted adults in the child’s life.
If the child has SEN that were not being met, did you help fight to get the child the support they need in school? Are you not seeing the child the same way the parent describes them? This could be because the child is masking, trying very hard to be ‘normal’ around you, they may be much happier and safer away from school so they don’t appear to have the same issues as they did in the classroom.
Was the child’s mental health suffering? Did the child have panic attacks at the thought of going in to school? Had they lost their interest in learning? Have they become shy and withdrawn in school?
There’s an endless list of reasons why someone would choose Home Education, but at the end of the day school does not have to have failed the child to start Home Ed. Many people choose it right from the start. They want the child to have a different style of education away from the out dated classroom.
The parent(s) must provide a full time education, suitable to each child’s age, ability, aptitude and SEN. They are responsible for finding and paying for resources including exams (though exams are not compulsory).
Every child is different, each one learns in different ways, this is why we strongly believe in taking time to deschool (adjust to being Home Educated). If your ex or family member appears to be letting the child do anything they want, sleep in all day, watch TikTok all day, then do not panic. It’s all about letting them settle and find their own way. Put yourself in the child’s shoes, you’ve spent the last few years being told what to wear most days, when to eat and drink, when to use the loo, told what to learn, how to learn, told to be quiet, sit still, don’t ask questions etc. They have been given no opportunity to figure out who they are properly, or how they learn best. It is going to take some time to unlearn (deschool) that. The suggestion is a month of deschooling for every year spent in school.
If the family tried to recreate school at home or do formal work immediately they would find things go wrong very quickly. The parent is a parent not a teacher and it can put strain on the relationship, the child can push back and it causes tension. There are many styles of Home Education and it can take time trialling different things to find what works. Don’t panic, the child isn’t missing out on education in that time. They are on a journey not a race.
Once a style of education is settled on, it can be adjusted as the child’s needs change, so it may get more formal as they get older, or even more child led. The key is ensuring it is what is right for the child at that time.
As Home Education is not restricted to school hours, days or terms you will find the child might be out shopping with friends in the week, or staying up late and sleeping until lunch, you might find the child is learning at a weekend. Remember Home Ed is not school at home.
A schooled child receives less than 4 hours a day of learning time a day for 200 days a year. Spread that throughout the entire year and you’ll find only a couple of hours learning is needed each day to equal a school day, and even then its important to understand how each child learns. Are they receiving one to one support, or learning independently, in a group, with siblings, are they a quick learner, a slow learner, do they learn in 10 minute chunks, or do they sit for 2 hours in deep concentration…. we know it is difficult to let go of what you think education should be. Home Education can seem bizarre, but give it time and you will see the child thrives.
There aren’t really any rules on this, beyond the education being suitable to age, ability, aptitude and SEN. It is sensible to ensure there is a basic maths and English education, though this can be learned through experience rather than being taught. We would suggest rephrasing this question to what does the parent and child want to achieve from Home Educating? Will the child be able to access any route they choose? Questions most Home Educators would welcome from their loved ones.
Why? We ask are you with the child 24/7? Are you seeing all the different things the child is learning through conversation, outings, google, reading, baking, gardening, playing with friends, formal work etc.?
If you are concerned about the suitability of the provision try asking the parent what style they follow and why this approach. Are you worried because it’s not looking like school work or school hours? As mentioned before, the majority of Home Educators don’t do either of those things.
Try to spend time reading our website, especially the styles sections, maybe come and join us on Facebook to chat to Home Educators and hear about all the different ways Home Ed can look.
You’re right, it’s highly unlikely that the parent will be able to teach everything, that is why most Home Educators don’t teach.
Yup, we don’t teach. Sounds scary, and neglectful. Please keep reading.
Home Ed kids rarely want or need to be taught, what they need is access to information and support. Home Educators consider themselves facilitators. We can buy the books, workbooks, website subscriptions, print the sheets, take them on days out, buy the ingredients, buy the board games, plan activities, research resources, get advice from others, but we rarely sit and plan a lesson etc.
We don’t make the kid sit down and be talked at for an hour on a subject they are not interested in.
Instead, we can sit with the child whilst they watch a video about the Berlin wall, we can answer their questions, we can Google things together that we don’t know the answer to. We show the child how to seek our information.
We are washing the pots whilst the child is reading a book, and shouts asking for help to read a word. The child knows the parent will help them and they don’t need to worry about looking silly in front of other kids.
We are laying in bed at 6am on a Sunday morning whilst the kid reels off all the information they have been learning through a website about Pandas.
It is Friday night, the teen has decided, now they’re out of bed, that they don’t understand Pythagoras. You spend time with them looking into resources, you’ve asked on our Home Ed group and someone suggested a great book, so you order it and the kid goes off to watch the videos also suggested. The following few days the young person is deep diving everything to do with Pythagoras and masters it.
Or, the young person, even with your support struggles to grasp a concept. It is a subject they’ve decided to do a GCSE in, there are tutors who do one off sessions, or longer term options, and often other Home Educators willing to offer support. Many websites such as Oak Academy do syllabus based lessons.
Think about it, if your school education didn’t prepare you well enough to help your child learn, was the education really any good?
Also, are you aware that many teachers in school do not specialise in the subject they teach. We know drama graduates teaching science. PE teachers teaching maths. etc. University may teach one subject in depth, but teacher training isn’t about the content, it is about crowd control, paperwork, targets, child development etc.
Let us ask you some questions.
How many friends do you have? Some of you will say 2, others will say 20, a few may say none.
Are those friends all within a year of your age? We doubt it.
Are you forced to spend 200 days a year in the same room as them? It isn’t likely.
Are you told when you can talk to your friends? Are you told when you can go out for dinner with them?
How many times, in school, did you hear a teacher say ‘you’re here to learn not socialise’?
Now let’s think about how we make friends, usually we find something in common with someone, or we like their personality, we then make the effort and choose to spend time with them occasionally.
Home Educated children are the same, they are able to go to Home Ed groups, outings, parks, family gatherings, play dates, chat/game online, and meet people of differing ages and make friends. There are thousands of groups and clubs around the country, some need a bit of effort and money to go to, you could support the family and help them out if the child wants to go to something.
It is also important to consider that some adults and children really don’t want to be in groups of people, they much prefer being on their own or with just one friend. This is ok. Remember, Home Education should be suitable to the individual.
We think the most important thing you can do is respect how the parent(s) are Home Educating, try to let go of what you think education should be.
Don’t panic during the deschooling stage.
Ask questions without judgement.
Ask how you can provide something positive to the child’s learning. Do you have a skill? Woodworking, embroidery, maths, baking etc. use your skills to support in whatever way the parent agrees is best.
Please do not quiz the child about what they’ve been learning, especially if school like terminology stresses them out. Lots of kids don’t see their day as learning because it was fun, but they have in fact learned lots.
Please do not force learning especially if it goes against the family methods.
Instead, ask how you can help, ask if they want you to take them places, or a hand with costs of things.
Do lots of reading, start with our website.
And feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions. Remember the LA are not there to support, and can not force a family to create school at home.
We really hope you have found this beneficial and that you’re now on-board with Home Ed.
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: