Home education – an alternative to the norm

There are no official figures available to show how many children are currently being home educated in the UK but it is estimated that the number is approximately 80,000 and growing – rapidly each year.

Education for children between the ages of five and 16 is compulsory in the UK, but sending them to school is not. As the figures prove, many parents are deciding to educate their children at home for a variety of reasons and they have a right to do so under UK law. Additionally, families who home educate do not have to follow the National Curriculum as schools do and there is no single correct way laid down as to how to educate your child at home.

In the hectic lifestyle we all seem to lead these days it’s hard to imagine taking on the role of ‘teacher’ for your children, but increasingly parents are seeing many benefits to choosing this route. There is often a particular reason or reasons behind the decision, with some parents deciding on home education some time before their child reaches school age and others taking the decision when they see that school education, or school generally, is not suiting their child. This might be down to all sorts of things, such as a child being bullied, being anxious about aspects of school, finding it hard to fit in, maybe having special needs or simply finding that school does not fit a child’s particular way of learning. Being unhappy or distressed at school can also impact on a child’s behaviour at home to the detriment of family life and impacting on other family members.

Many parents considering home education (HE) therefore feel they are in a better position to cater for their child’s individual needs. Naturally there will be a period of getting used to the fact that mum or dad is now the ‘teacher’ but that aside, along with getting over the fact that the kids are still at home, with a suitable work area and carefully planned and organised timetable, many parent are finding it’s a very successful way to educate their youngsters.

Our research shows, for example, that the ‘one to one’ scenario means they get through a lot of work, while in doing so it frees up time to incorporate other activities, such as attending HE groups to socialise and make friends or doing more outdoor and physical activity time.

Many HE children go on to higher education and we came across numerous examples of those who have been taught at home going on to university, so it can clearly be a very positive and successful way of educating children. The more you delve into it the more intriguing and interesting an option it becomes – as more and more parents are finding out!