A study, commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills, has concluded that there is no accurate picture of the extent of home educating - an attempt to find out how many children in England are being educated at home suggests the number might range between 7,400 and 34,400, based on the sample study of nine local authorities found between 0.09% and 0.42% of school populations being taught at home - but this would not include any children who were not registered as home-educated. The study concludes that even a full national survey would not be likely to deliver a reliable figure, because many home-educated children would remain unknown to local authorities and home-education organisations. Read more about the report here.
So what is home educating? who does it? why? and how?
Most people choose to send their children to a school to be educated, but it is legal to educate your child at home. Home-education is an alternative to school and any family can choose this option for their child which means parents choose to keep the responsibility for the education of their children instead of delegating it to a school. Some families make the decision to home educate long before their child reaches 'school age' whereas others deregister their children from school later after finding that their child does not fit in at school for whatever reason. Lots different types of people home educate their children for many different reasons so whoever you are there are bound to be people like you!
The method of learning is entirely up to you and your child, you can use any approach that you consider suitable - there are as many different ways of educating as there are families. Most home educating families tends to fall somewhere between formal curriculum based teaching and totally child led learning. Some parents teach in a formal manner (sometimes called home-schooling), using a fixed timetable which keeps school hours and terms, and a curriculum based on traditional school subjects (sometimes the national curriculum). This appproach may be chosen when a child is first withdrawn from school where the routine offers stability or when a child may be returning to school in the future. Other families take advantage of the fact that home-educated children do not have to follow the national curriculum or a timetable, allowing them to have far greater flexibility. They may choose an autonomous approach, allowing the child to determine the areas of study and to decide how, when and what to learn, using individual interests and a natural curiosity as a starting point. Children whose enthusiasm for learning has been seriously affected by school problems often benefit from this relaxed and child-centred approach (sometimes known as free-range education). However you choose to home-educate you may find that your methods will change on grow.
For more information
Education Otherwise is a membership organisation, with over four thousand families, groups and individual members distributed throughout the UK and abroad, and has evolved into a self-help organisation which can offer support, advice and information to families who are practising or contemplating home-based education as an alternative to schooling.
Home Education Advisory Service (HEAS) a national home education charity based in the United Kingdom, dedicated to the provision of advice and practical support for families who wish to educate their children at home in preference to sending them to school.
Muddlepuddle a site full of information about home educating with ideas on themes to help youngsters and links to resources, it is a must for parents of all young children.
Are you home educating? Let us know about your activities!