(England and Wales)
For information about home-educating in Scotland I recommend referring to the Schoolhouse website.
Home-Education is an ‘otherwise’ choice.
People home-educate for all sorts of reasons. They may feel that their child or children have been let down by the school system. Perhaps bullying issues have played a part, or maybe they don’t feel that their children are being stretched enough academically. Sometimes a child has a special educational need and the parent may feel that their son or daughter’s full potential will not be reached within the confines of the system. Of course, it could just be that a parent feels that home-education is the best option for their family. The list of reasons goes on and on and on.
The home-educating community is made up of people from all walks of life. There are those that society would deem as being well-off in financial terms, and those that are struggling to make ends meet. Some are two parent families, others home-educate as single parents. Home-educators have many different educational backgrounds and have followed a variety of career paths – there is no discrimination when it comes to what makes a ‘good’ home-educator. The only set-in-stone requirement is that you enjoy spending time with your child and nurturing their desire to learn.
The ways that families choose to home-educate are as diverse as the reasons for embarking on the journey. There are many so-called ‘methods’, and many home-educators mix and match these methods and create an eclectic mix. Some choose to almost emulate school, with timetables to follow and study plans drawn up. At the other end of the spectrum are what may be referred to as ‘autonomous learners’ or ‘unschoolers’. These families don’t necessarily plan their days, they don’t have a separate learning time and life-living time. Instead their days are spent facilitating whatever happens to be their child’s current interest or desire, and going with the flow.
There are many home-education groups throughout the country. Again, these are diverse in their character and it may take visiting a few to find one that suits your own particular ethos and needs. Some groups are used primarily as a social gathering and support network, bringing like-minded families together to share a day out or workshop for example. Other groups are activity based, with members organising particular things for the children to participate in – arts and crafts perhaps. Tutor groups are also common, with home-educating families getting together in order to provide a tutor to take their children through examination preparation and study. Many home-educators, unable to find a current group in their area that suits them, go on to set up one of their own.
If you are having difficult finding a local group or connecting with home-educators in your particular area, feel free to contact me at Julia@classroomfree.org and I will try my best to assist you.