Written by: Cally Worden
The decision to home-school is a very personal choice, many parents make it across the UK each year. At any one time, is it estimated that between 50 and 80 thousand UK children are educated in the home. The vast majority of children are educated in a formal school environment, but all parents have a legal right in the UK to elect to educate their kids at home. If this is something you are considering, then read on.
Home Education -What exactly is it?
Education for kids is a legal requirement in the UK from the age of five years. Choosing to educate at home means providing a structured programme of learning from within the home – this can be provided by the parents themselves, through the use of tutors, online resources, or a blend of all these elements. In many ways, this is an extension of education that all parents and carers provide to pre-school children – the main difference from the mainstream education system is that there are no formal rules on how, or when you must teach.
Reasons for choosing home-schooling
There are many reasons why parents elect to educate their children at home. These include:
- Philosophical and religious beliefs
- A positive personal experience that they wish to recreate for their own children
- Concern over the alternative local school options available
- Relief for a child who has been unhappy in school
- Practical issues of the nearest school being far from home
- Parents who travel a lot and wish to provide a greater degree of consistency in their child’s education
- A dislike of traditional teaching methods
As with anything that sits outside mainstream norm, the idea of home schooling has had a number of myths attached to it over the years. We bust a few of them here:
- You have to be a qualified educator or teacher to home-school your child – NO
- You have to follow the National Curriculum – NO
- Your child still has to take SATs and Exams – NO
- You need the permission of your Local Education Authority (LEA) – NO, unless your child currently attends a special needs school
- You can’t home-educate a child with special needs – NO, this is generally permitted
- You will be subject to a home inspection – NO, although the Education Welfare Service (EWS) will likely contact you, making sure you are fulfilling your duty to provide your child with an appropriate education. If they have concerns they can issue a School Attendance Order
Concerns over socialisation
One of the biggest issues faced by parents with children who are home-schooled, is the need to make extra efforts in respect of socialisation. With home schooling becoming more popular, there has been a significant rise in the number of support groups who regularly arrange get-togethers for kids, enabling them to interact and engage with others in similar situations. Children can also elect to participate in extra-curricular activities alongside those attending mainstream school – with a little thought and organisation, it is perfectly possible to ensure that your child enjoys an active social life with many friends.